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Green spaces slash mental illness rate by 60%, new data reveals

green spaces mental health

We've known for a while that taking a walk in nature can improve your mood. In short, having green plants at home can boost productivity, mental health, and overall feelings of wellness. However, most of the studies have used limited data. A new study has gone further to prove the benefits of nature on mental health using complex and more wholesome data.

The study results show that people in urban areas with green spaces have better mental health.

How wholesome is the data and why should we consider it credible?

The researchers included 1,169 locations, proportionate percentages of men and women, White, Hispanic, Black, educated, employed, unemployed, with health insurance, without health insurance, financially stable, the poor, young, aged, and other factors that may interfere with one's mental health and general well-being.

All the locations have varying levels of exposure to nature. And the researchers attached a score — NatureScore — to each location. (NatureScore is an aggregate of various factors like air, noise pollution, trees, greenery, parks, lighting, and other elements of nature. Previous studies used only a couple of factors, so this one is more complete.)

Locations with a higher NatureScore have more exposure to nature.

And here is the result:

People in locations with higher NatureScores were less likely to have mental health problems or visit a psychiatrist. In areas with NatureScores above 60, mental health encounters were 50% lower.

For NatureScores above 40, residents are 51% less likely to develop depression and 63% less likely to develop bipolar disorder.

These are big numbers.

And it's more proof of something we've known:

Spending more time around green spaces can promote mental health and well-being.

While we can wait for the government to create more green spaces in our cities and walkways, you can bring nature into your home and workspace now and start enjoying the benefits.

And if you're battling depression or any other mental health condition, we'd like to help.

Contact us now to speak with a licensed mental health provider near you.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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