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THSG member Dr Carly Wood of Essex University led a research project into the barriers to commissioning STH services for mental health. Individuals with a role in mental health care commissioning from across the UK were invited to take part in semi-structured interviews via Zoom. Interviews explored factors influencing the mental health services they commission or refer to, their perception of the role of STH in mental health care, and the barriers to commissioning STH, together with potential solutions to any barriers identified. The barriers identified can be grouped in 3 broad areas: challenges for the NHS, challenges within the community sector, and evidence of effectiveness. Publication of the full results can be found here.

[Wood, C. J et al (2024), A qualitative study of the barriers to commissioning social and therapeutic horticulture in mental health care]

The research concluded that changes need to be seen within both the NHS, with STH embedded within NHS priorities and information on STH services and their effectiveness needs to be easily accessible to practitioners. The sector should also be supported in working collaboratively to enable the commissioning of services at scale.