Growing up in a green area may help support mental health

Posted on March 6, 2019

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Mental health issues have been steadily increasing over the years with anxiety and depression being the most prominent two and there are multiple reasons that could account for the worrying trend. These range from the stressful demands of the fast-paced modern world we live. To environmental factors like pollution.

There has been much research done across the globe in attempts to disentangle these risk factors to identify the active ingredient for change necessary for the prevention of mental health problems becoming a serious society-wide issue. A new study from postdoctoral researcher Kristine Engermann and colleagues from the University in Denmark maybe have a possible link between growing up in a natural environment and better mental health as adults.

The researchers first identified green spaces that were in close proximity to childhood homes using satellite data from 1985 to 2013, then, they correlated the data with the particular population’s risk of developing one out of 16 mental health conditions when they were adults. Results from this study showed that individuals that grew up surrounded by nature and greenery were approximately 55% less likely of developing a mental health condition. These results still hold even after accounting for potential modifying factors such as one’s socioeconomic status, family history of mental health, and migration. The study also the revealed the association that the longer one spends being surrounded by nature in their childhood, the lower the risk of developing a mental disorder, highlighting the importance of green spaces during one’s growing years.

With these findings, researchers are suggesting for city authorities to be more attentive in their efforts to safeguard existing green spaces, and to develop more of such spaces with support from previous findings on the negative effects of noise and air pollution in urban areas on mental health. It shows the important role that nature plays in our pursuit of psychological well-being and thus, cities need to align with the psychological needs of the public by ensuring their urban planning considers greenery to improve the mental health of urban residents in future, building healthier cities overall.

Category(s):Anxiety, Depression

Source material from Medical News Today