22 Aug 2018

Greening urban open space can help alleviate residents’ depression

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Greening urban open space can help alleviate residents’ depression

A US study shows that greening urban open spaces can improve the mental health of surrounding residents and alleviate negative emotions such as depression.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions surveyed in Philadelphia, randomly dividing 541 idle open spaces into three groups. One group implementing “greening interventions”, including removing garbage, leveling land, planting grass and few trees, installing dwarf trees, and monthly regularly trimmed. The second group only cleans up the garbage and weeds regularly. The third group is the comparison group, let it be abandoned. The researchers assessed the mental health status of 342 residents in each of the surrounding areas at 18 months before and after the intervention.

The results showed that after 18 months of intervention, the depression of the residents within 400 meters of the green space was greatly relieved, compared with 41.5% of the population around the ungreened open space. The proportion of depression in the poor communities was especially significant, with a drop of more than 68%. The self-reported mental health status of the residents in the other two open areas did not change significantly. In contrast, the self-reported mental health status of the surrounding residents in the green areas decreased by nearly 63%.

In an article published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Network, the researchers wrote that the ruin and restriction of land is “some of the factors that drive up the risk of depression and stress in surrounding residents.” Researchers believe that greening open space has a positive effect on the mental health of surrounding residents, and this practice is not costly and easy to promote.

Greening urban open space can help alleviate residents’ depression

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