Horticulture Week Podcast: 'Using nature to fix a faulty brain' - Hannah Powell of Perrywood Garden centre on mental health at work

Hannah Powell

After working and playing hard in noughties London, Perrywood Garden Centre's communications & HR Director Hannah Powell turned to nature to heal after suffering from a "functional neurological disorder".

Her book, The Cactus Surgeon, explores "using nature to fix a faulty brain" and how "getting out into nature" was instrumental in her recovery and can be harnessed by everyone to improve their well-being.

Her previous title My Green Recovery flagged the dangers of ignoring mental health among employees who have been under unprecedented strain during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

After leaving London, Hannah returned to the Perrywood Tiptree garden centre and nursery in Essex where she grew up, got a degree in horticulture, and now dedicates herself to looking after the employees at Tiptree and the Perrywood Sudbury garden centre in Suffolk.

She tells the Horticulture Week Podcast how offering free physio screenings have helped prevent injuries in employees and providing free counselling days, occupational health referrals and extra mental health awareness training for managers which has helped the company reduce sick days. Staff feel more cared for, a factor that could also help with staff retention in a time of labour shortages, she adds.

Podcast presenter: HW editor, Matthew Appleby
Producer: HW digital content manager, Christina Taylor

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