A new study shows that nature is good for mental health, and that visiting parks and other nature areas could reduce anxiety and depression. A research study performed by University of Queensland and ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions researchers found that people who spent at least 30 minutes a week in nature are also far less likely to suffer from poor mental health when compared to people who do not get back to nature for at least this small amount of time each week. This has led researchers to suggest that a minimum level of exposure to nature may be needed to improve mental health. The recent study was published and can be found in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
Dr. Danielle Shanahan discussed the findings from the study on nature, mental health, and anxiety and depression. According to Dr. Shanahan there are many health benefits to visiting parks, and these include a lower risk of stress, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. “If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour each week there would be seven percent fewer cases of depression and nine percent fewer cases of high blood pressure. Given that the societal costs of depression alone in Australia are estimated at $A12.6 billion a year, savings to public health budgets across all health outcomes could be immense. Kids who grow up experiencing natural environments may benefit developmentally and have a heightened environmental awareness as adults than those who don’t.” This is just one more reason to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.