Categorized | Health

Mental Health Garden – Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy Residents Call for New Approach to Mental Health Treatment. There is a group of Perth Amboy tenants on a unique quest for health. On Saturday, in the Harbortown section of Perth Amboy, this group of residents showed off their cooperative garden effort to friends and family and transferred their sprouted winter plants into patio planters. The collective consists of residents of a Perth Amboy location of a mental health service and housing provider called SERV. Fourteen gathered in May of 2012 to address a common grievance about site rules. They evolved into a drop-in style self-help group. 21 of the 30 residents of the SERV Perth Amboy apartments have attended a monthly meetings in their apartments.

The planting took place outside of some of the residents’ apartments. Present were 10 residents, 9 of their friends, neighbors and family members, Rutgers professor Mark Lamar and his wife Michelle- also a gardener, and 2 SERV staff members. The group built two snap pea trellises from bamboo, paint sticks and string, and transferred a spinach crop to a wooden “repurposed” patio planter (previously a piece of store display furniture). Plantings included snap peas, broccoli and some pencil pod beans and displayed 5 sprouted seedlings of various leafy green plants. In the future other plants will include tomatoes, peppers, basil, and 3 other bean varieties.

The name of the Friends became People United for Self Help & More (PUSHM), mission and vision statements, and a logo. The vision statement is signed by 10 Perth Amboy SERV residents. It includes items such as “we would like our privacy respected” and “we want a community that includes us in forming of policies and programs…” and “we would like peer support specialists hired into the (SERV) organization.”

Press Release March 24, 2013

*Photos by Joe Bayona

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