Growing up in green areas may prevent mental health distress in later life, suggests study

Growing up in green areas may prevent mental health distress in later life, suggests study

Emerging evidence is suggesting that the prevalence of mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression, are escalating in the United States. This worrying trend has been contributed to by numerous complex reasons, such as always being online through phones, emails, and social media and environmental factors like pollution.

Researchers across the globe are in a quest to study these different factors to come up with strategies for preventing such mental health disorders from becoming society-wide problems. Recently, a novel study carried out by Kristine Engemann, a postdoctoral researcher, and the team from Aarhus University in Denmark identified an association between an improved mental health in adulthood and growing up in naturally green environments.

Greener spaces may nourish our minds

For their research, the scientists used satellite data for 28 years, from 1985 – 2013, to ascertain green localities in the vicinity of childhood homes of more than 900,000 Danes. This data was then linked with the population’s risk of developing one out of 16 mental health disorders throughout adulthood. The results of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in March 2019.

The researchers discovered that in comparison to people who did not live in green surroundings, people who did grow up in green areas had a 55 percent reduced risk of developing mental disorders later in life. Even after the team controlled for potentially modifying factors like a person’s family history of mental illnesses, migration from rural to urban areas, and socioeconomic status, the results remained intact.

Engemann shared that the data was unique. Her team had used an extensive amount of data from Danish registers of residential location and diagnoses of diseases and compared it with satellite images that revealed the range of green area surrounding each individual while growing up. The study also revealed that the longer someone spent in the nature from infancy till the age of 10 years, the more likely they were to have a sound mental health in later life.

City authorities should safeguard green spaces

The researchers emphasized that their findings suggested that city officials should work towards preserving existing green areas and developing more such areas. It was also noted that the earlier research had already established a link between deteriorating mental health and air and noise pollution in urban areas. The current findings suggested that nature was essential to maintain psychological well-being.

More and more people are migrating from rural to urban setups in pursuit of better life opportunities, therefore, there is a need for the cities to align with the psychological needs of these people. The latest data released from the United Nations department of Economic and Social Affairs stated that nearly 55 percent of the global population lives in urban or built-up areas and this number is bound to increase to 68 percent by 2050. Study co-author Prof. Jens-Christian Svenning suggested that the urban planning should consider improved access to ample green areas to ensure the mental well-being of people dwelling in such areas.

Seeking help for depression

The present study highlights the importance of green areas on one’s mental well-being. However, it is not possible for everyone to stay in close proximity of such areas because of school and work commitments. It is, however, important and possible to keep a track of one’s mental well-being and if something is not right, one must reach out for professional help from credible depression treatment centers immediately.

If you or a loved one is battling a mental health problem like depression and is looking for credible depression disorders centers in Texas, then get in touch with the Texas Depression Treatment Help. Our medical experts can offer you the requisite assistance and support and help you effectively overcome your mental disorder. Call our 24/7 depression treatment helpline 866-827-0282 or chat online with our representatives for more information about our evidence-backed treatment programs for depression and other mental disorders.