“Green” Space Helps Mental Health
A study has examined the long-term effects of green spaces on mental health and found that ‘green’ feels better. 1,000 participants were followed for five years. During that time, some of the people moved to greener urban areas and some to less green urban areas. On average, the people who moved to greener urban areas reported feeling a quick boost in their mental well being and this continued for at least three years after they moved. Therefore, it wasn’t due to happiness in going someplace new. For the people who moved to less green areas, they suffered a reported drop in mental health, even before they moved–but this reversed over time. The study controlled for factors that might be associated with moves such as going to a worse neighborhood, work problems, education and income.
The lead author Ian Alcock said, “We’ve shown that individuals who move to greener areas have significant and long-lasting improvements in mental health. These findings are important for urban planners thinking about introducing new green spaces to our towns and cities, suggesting they could provide long term and sustained benefits for local communities.”
source: Alcock et al, 2014
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