Veterans find gardening at Topeka VA to be therapeutic activity

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By Katie Moore

U.S. Army veteran Mitch Sullivan has found participating in a gardening project at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka to be a therapeutic experience.

“For me, I can say it’s very therapeutic. I like watching stuff grow,” Sullivan said. “I feel like I’m raising little children.”

Sandi Jensen, nurse manager for the VA’s Psychiatric Recovery and Wellness Program, said gardening provides a purpose that is beneficial for people facing post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental health issues. Working with your hands releases anxiety and quiets racing thoughts, Jensen said. There is also a peer support aspect that facilitates working together and communication.

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