Therapy Garden Offers a New Way to Help Youth Heal
When some people think of therapy, they think of a client and a therapist in an office. While that method is effective for many, there are other ways to support mental health and skills development. NYFS already uses play and art therapies to connect with clients and this summer, we added a new element – a horticultural therapy garden for youth in our Northeast Therapeutic Services (NETS) day treatment program. The garden was created in collaboration with Michelle Bruhn of Forks in the Dirt
and NETS youth helped get the plants in the ground and learned a bit about how working with plants can help people calm themselves by tuning into nature, even for just a few minutes.
“We use many techniques to help youth get out of their heads and into their bodies as they learn new ways to manage their mental health symptoms,” said Laurie Moser, Manager of the NETS program.
The NETS program offers on-site therapeutic support to middle and high school youth who are struggling with mental health symptoms that negatively affect their daily functioning. Students receive support in individual and group settings and educational services are also available. All programming takes place at NYFS headquarters in Shoreview so placing the garden near the front entrance of the building ensured that youth have easy access to the space when they need it.
Moser said that in addition to providing another way for youth to de-stress and re-regulate, the garden has produced an abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables that youth have used to create healthy snacks during the day and take home to share with their families. Plans are underway to create an indoor sensory garden to utilize during the colder months and install a permanent outdoor sensory garden next spring.
Enrollment in the NETS program is by referral only and the program has openings for both the middle and high school programs. Day Treatment services may be covered by private insurance, Medical Assistance or TEFRA (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act), and educational services are included free of charge through the Mounds View School District.
Please call 651-379-3432 for more information about the program, the enrollment process, and for help with insurance options.