Local non-profit building community garden for people recovering from mental health challenges

Virginia

HERNDON, Va. (WDVM) — One local non-profit launched its first community garden for clients recovering from mental health challenges.

Stomping, clapping and laugher filled a Herndon backyard on Thursday’s hot July morning. Pathway Homes is a non-profit that provides mental health services for the community and CEO Sylisa Lambert-Woodard shows her passion behind their mission.

“We believe that housing is a right,” said Lambert-Woodard. “Not a privilege. And that people with mental health issues can and do recover.”

One of the key findings from a report by Mental Health America is that the number of people looking for help with depression has skyrocketed with a 93% increase in 2020 compared to 2019.

This organization provides housing for 15,000 people and they unveiled the first community garden for its clients recovering from mental health challenges.

Residents of Pathway Homes will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor once this garden project is complete. There are 6 projected garden beds in the middle and one storage bench towards the back for this project.

Fairfax County Board Chairman Jeffery McKay attended and spoke on the hardships that stemmed from the pandemic.

“The pandemic has taught us a lot of things, but one of the things we know, tragically, is that more people will have mental health challenges, as a result of the isolation over the last year-plus, than ever,” said McKay.

“We see that there’s an intersection between mental health and physical health,” said Lambert-Woodard. “We recognize that a healthy mind and body is essential and fundamental actually in creating the coping skills and the management skills necessary to move through recovery and treatment.”

Delegate Karrie Delaney also attended to show her support for the garden.

While the ribbon-cutting took some time to jumpstart, the community garden is already underway.

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