It’s known that nature is good for us but its precise impact on our well-being can be challenging to articulate. An important new study from Aarhus University in Denmark found that when children grow up surrounded by green space, they have up to 55% less risk of developing a wide range of mental health problems later in life – even after adjusting for other known risk factors such as socio-economic status, urbanization, and the family history of mental disorders.
In addition, the protective effect grows stronger with more years spent living near nature.
“We show that the risk of developing a mental disorder decreases incrementally the longer you have been surrounded by green space from birth and up to the age of 10. Green space throughout childhood is therefore extremely important,” lead researcher Kristine Engemann explains.
Though much about the connection between greenery and mental health is not understood, the researchers from Aarhus University believe that natural spaces should be featured prominently in city designs. “Ensuring access to green space and enhancing opportunities for a diverse range of uses,” Engemann states “especially in densifying urban environments, could be an important tool for managing and minimizing the global burden of disease increasingly dominated by psychiatric disorders.”
At RVi, we agree and embrace every opportunity to inspire people to be outside and engage in the community around them.