SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on Monday it is giving away so-called ‘companion plants’ to some 2,000 single elderly households to help fight depression and loneliness.
Companion plants reflect the horticultural therapy aspect of plants with mental health benefits.
When placed close to people, companion plants are thought to have a similar effect as companion animals in tackling mental health issues such as loneliness and depression, at a much lower cost and with less required maintenance.
Horticultural therapists visit single elderly households on a regular basis to give guidance on how to maintain the plants, as well as for emotional support.
“Despite having been wary at first, elderly people now wait for my visits. I feel proud when people want to show off how well their plants have been kept,” said Jung Mi-ae, a horticultural therapist who participated in Seoul’s mental health support program.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government ran a similar program earlier this year, giving away air purifying plants such as ivy plants and rubber trees, and is expected to continue the ‘companion plants’ project in the future.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)