Living near the coast can have mental health benefits, study shows. Research has shown that spending time in nature can improve mood and heart health. Like green spaces, blue spaces can also have a positive effect on health and wellbeing.
Now, a new study has found that living close to the ocean near the coast could be beneficial for mental health, especially in low-income communities.
Researchers from the University of Exeter analyzed data from the Health Survey for England to assess how living in close proximity to the seaside affected wellbeing.
Data on 26,000 survey participants were reviewed for the study, and the researchers say that the investigation is one of the largest of its kind to examine the mental health benefits of coastal living in England.
The researchers compared the health information of individuals who lived less than one kilometer away from the coast to those who lived more than 50 kilometers away.
Living in coastal towns and cities correlated with better mental health among low-income households.
An estimated one out of six adults suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Low income and marginalized individuals face higher risks of mental health problems.
The study results, published in the journal Health and Place, show that coastal living may help protect against these risks.
“Our research suggests, for the first time, that people in poorer households living close to the coast experience fewer symptoms of mental health disorders,” said Dr. Jo Garrett, the leader of the study. “When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income.”
The researchers recommend that blue spaces be maximized to help benefit the community and that everyone is ensured equal access to coastal areas.
By Kay Vandette, Earth.com Staff Writer
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