Visiting nature may lessen need for mental health drugs: Study
Visits to parks, community gardens and other urban green spaces may lower city dwellers’ use of drugs for anxiety, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma, research has found.
Researchers in Finland found that visiting such areas three to four times a week cuts people’s chances of turning to drugs for mental health problems or high blood pressure by a third, and for asthma by about a quarter.
Moreover, the positive effects of visiting green spaces were stronger among those reporting the lowest annual household income, the researchers found.
The findings correlate with a growing body of evidence that a lack of access to green spaces is linked to a range of health problems. Access tends to be unequal, with poorer communities having fewer opportunities to be in nature.
“Mounting scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of nature exposure is likely to increase the supply of high-quality green spaces in urban environments and promote their active use,” the researchers wrote. “This might be one way to improve health and welfare in cities.”