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For more than 15 years, St John of God Health Care has provided mental health services in Melbourne’s South East, including comprehensive treatment and care to inpatients, day patients, community-based patients and outpatients as well as psychiatric health care for acute mental health and addiction conditions.

Research tells us that our mental health and wellbeing improves when we have access to support and services close to home, and we pride ourselves on providing a high standard of care at the St John of God Langmore Centre in Berwick.

Many of us have experienced how spending time in natural environments helps to reduce our stress and lift our mood. Thanks to generous donor support the Langmore Centre has been able to establish new sensory gardens for use by patients and loved ones.

The new garden is designed to stimulate all five senses and provide an opportunity for conversation, meditation and activities between patients, therapists and visitors in a tranquil outdoor setting. Research tells us that sensory gardens can make a great contribution to emotional and physical health by enhancing communication, mood and awareness.

Donor support has enabled two dedicated sensory garden spaces to be created at the Langmore Centre: one more secluded for therapeutic activities to take place, and another, more public, space for everyone to enjoy.

Julian Woods, Exercise Physiologist at St John of God Langmore Centre says the spaces have already been put to good use by caregivers and patients.

“Facilitator-guided gardening groups are running weekly for one hour, and are providing current inpatients the opportunity to develop and maintain our courtyard sensory garden,” Julian said.

“To date we’ve planted seedlings, seeds, cuttings, and mature plants of summer fruiting berries, salad greens, herbs, vegetables and flowers. Our efforts have also provided strawberry, mint, tomato, cucumber, zucchini and other herb plants for caregivers, patients and their families to take home.”

Julian also says he can see significant benefits for patients engaging in the sensory garden spaces.

“I’m finding it most lovely to see patients that struggle to engage in other forms of therapy really coming out of their shell in the garden space.”

We are so grateful to our wonderful donors for their support for these beautiful garden spaces. You have made such an amazing difference to caregivers, patients, and their loved ones at St John of God Langmore Centre.

Your gift can change a life.