Hmong Garden Praised for Mental Health Impact
From The Fresno Bee, July 30, 2012
A day after The Associated Press reported that a Hmong garden in Fresno has seemingly little or no specific connection to mental health, the project received praise in a report prepared for the California Department of Mental Health.
The Fresno Hmong Community Garden was one of 56 programs statewide cited as a promising strategy for addressing the mental health needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.
"The garden is so important," said C. Rocco Cheng, a psychologist at Pacific Clinics in the Los Angeles County city of Irwindale, who prepared the California Reducing Disparities Project report for the state Office of Multicultural Services and the Department of Mental Health.
"This is just a tool to bring them in to other services," Cheng said during an interview after presenting the draft report at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries in central Fresno. "If people don't even come into your office, how are you going to help them?"
In a Sunday story published in The Bee, The Associated Press said Fresno County's garden program, as well as other wellness programs, such as horseback riding in Kings County and a student well-being program in Los Angeles, are being scrutinized by mental-health advocates for their value now that state funds have been reduced for treatments for the seriously ill.