Nature-Based Interventions for Mental Health Care: Social Network Analysis as a Tool to Map Social Farms and their Response to Social Inclusion and Community Engagement

Marta Borgi, Mario Marcolin, Paolo Tomasin, Cinzia Correale, Aldina Venerosi, Alberto Grizzo, Roberto Orlich, Francesca Cirulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social farming represents a hybrid governance model in which public bodies, local communities, and economic actors act together to promote health and social inclusion in rural areas. Although relational variables are crucial to foster social farm performance, the relational system in which farms are embedded has still not been fully described. Using social network analysis, here we map the nature of the links of a selected sample of social farms operating in Northern Italy. We also explore possible network variations following specific actions taken to potentiate local social farming initiatives. The results show a certain degree of variability in terms of the extension and features of the examined networks. Overall, the actions taken appear to be significant to enlarge and diversify farms' networks. Social farming has the potential to provide important benefits to society and the environment and to contrast vulnerability in rural areas. Being able to create social and economic networks of local communities, social farming may also represent an innovative way to respond to the cultural shift from institutional psychiatry to community-based mental health care. This study emphasizes the critical role played by network facilitation in diversifying actors, promoting heterogeneous relationships, and, in turn, system complexity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 19 2019

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Community Networks
  • Farms
  • Health Services
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Services
  • Nature
  • Social Networking

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