IntroRehab is an activity within the Working centre of Malmö. They take care of 80 recently arrived immigrants that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD often develops in people that suffer from war torture and persecute. Among the symptoms are sleeplessness, social phobia, headache and depression.
Starting in January 2011, Odla i stan has worked with the participants of IntroRehab every week. We have inspired the participants and supported design and the selection of plants. During winter and spring we have, together, prepared the soil and grown seeds in a greenhouse.
Once a week it is possible to work in the land of Slottsträdgården together with Odla i stan. When digging and panting we have time to practice Swedish as well. Some of the men and women have had cultivations in their home country and they have told us how they used to do there.
Science shows that physical work, such as digging and planting, and that being outside in green surroundings have a positive effect on people suffering from PTSD. When being outside the levels of stress hormone in the body sinks. Many of the people suffering from PTSD have difficult nightmares and by working hard physically one gets really tired, exhausted, and it might be easier to fall asleep. One of the negative effects of PTSD is that the short term memory is affected. We have a pedagogical method where we use many of our senses such as sense, taste and smell, to discover the plants.
The good news with the project is that one man has been offered a trainee job and a woman has overcome her phobia for travelling by bus.