TV Dr Amir Khan: Gardening & Mental Health

Popular TV Dr Amir Khan, who works full-time as a GP and is the resident doctor on ITV’s Lorraine and Good Morning Britain, values his garden for the mental health boost.

TV Doctor Amir Khan
credit: @doctoramirkhan

In an article for the Irish Times, by Hannah Stephenson Khan explains how having lived in flats in inner city places as student, he finds having a garden makes a huge difference for one’s mental health. About his own garden in a small village in Leeds, he said “It has really brought me through some of the tough times, particularly around Covid”.

As the President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts and Ambassador for The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Butterfly Conservation and The Rivers Trust, wildlife is a priority for Khan. “We moved into this house about six years ago and it was very much a blank canvas. We wanted to do something that really invited nature in. We spaced out the garden into different zones for different types of wildlife because we were looking at where we live and the potential for wildlife to be there,” he explained to Stephenson.

When asked for his thoughts on green prescribing, Khan is practical. “We know there’s lots of evidence that green prescribing helps both physically and mentally but you’ve got to pitch it right. There’s no point me saying to someone who is really severely depressed and can’t leave the house, ‘Well, actually, have you thought about going for a walk?’ You’ve got to get them in the right frame of mind and sell it to them in a way that helps them,” he explains.

He added that the lack of access to green space is a big problem. If patients are to take buses and/or a train to go somewhere ‘green’, transport costs may be prohibitive for them. “I went to Canada a couple of years ago and they were really ahead of the game with green prescribing. They give their patients free passes to national parks. The RSPB is starting to do that now, The Wildlife Trusts is getting on board. If we can get our nature reserves free for people who need it for health reasons, that’ll be a huge step in the right direction.”