Psychological Distress: A new study shows that having just 10% more forest space in a person’s residential area can reduce serious psychological distress. It’s common knowledge that spending time in green areas helps improve one’s general wellbeing.
How Green Spaces Can Reduce Psychological Distress?
Researchers from Washington State University conducted the study. It revealed that there may be a connection between improved mental and physical health in older people and the availability of urban green and blue spaces. It emphasizes how the loss of urban forest cover has a detrimental effect on people’s mental health. The environment gets affected as well.
In order to do this, the researchers examined information. Over 42,000 seniors who resided in urban Washington state between 2011 and 2019 took part in it. According to the findings; 19% of respondents said their general health was fair or poor. Nearly 2% of respondents displayed symptoms of significant psychological distress.
In general, mental health conditions like depression are more common in the elderly. They raise the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Interestingly, they also had a lower likelihood of receiving treatment to address these problems.
The standard therapies for depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders among older persons include talk therapy or medicinal interventions. The researchers find that these individuals are less receptive to conventional forms of care. According to study author Adhitya Vegaraju, “we need to look at that more closely as a way to improve mental health outcomes in this population if exposure to green or blue spaces could help prevent, delay, or even treat poor mental health in older adults.”
Doctors are increasingly recommending to their patients to spend time outside; this is referred to as “nature-based prescriptions,” according to Vegaraju. Amiri said, “It is thought that exposure to green and blue spaces could help slow cognitive decline.” The researchers want to know if dementia can be impacted by green and blue spaces either directly or indirectly by reducing mental health issues linked to cognitive decline..
Greener areas have also been linked to improved mental health, according to earlier research. For example, a study conducted in October and published in the Science of the Total Environment revealed that green areas, including parks and public spaces in a community, can positively affect a significant genetic marker linked to stress exposure.