Narratives of natural recovery: Youth experiences of social inclusion through Green care
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The aim of this study has been to investigate the effects of Green Care services for youth in vulnerable situations risking social exclusion. Green Care enterprises represent alternative arenas in which people can work with animals, agriculture and other tasks related to nature. We interviewed nine persons, aged 17–27, working in three different places, two or more times over a two-year period. We looked at essential beneficial factors in order to better understand how the “green” element could add to more traditional recovery factors. We found that the youth described core success factors corresponding to well-known recovery factors such as recognition, supportive relationships, motivation, meaning, positive coping, self-esteem, confidence and hope. The effective factors can be described as: (a) The leader’s ability to create a good group atmosphere, (b) the varied tasks which allow step-wise increases in self-efficacy, and (c) experiences with animals and in nature that provide comfort for youth who lack trust in people and need safe situations to recover a positive sense of self. We followed a process in which several persons gradually regained self-respect and the motivation for further education or a job outside the Green Care enterprise. The study illustrates that Green Care can be an important supplement in helping people back to a satisfying life and meaningful roles in society.
This article is designed as ”Open Access”. This is the journal's PDF originally published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110606052.