Parks’ Impact on Mental Health
Posted on May 15, 2023
The National Recreation and Park Association reports that areas lacking green spaces have a 33% higher incidence of physician-diagnosed depression than those with access to such spaces. This statistic is significant and merits further discussion. While it may seem difficult to comprehend how the creation of green spaces and parks can aid in reducing this figure, reading on will shed light on how we can collectively make a positive impact on the health and wellness of your community through parks.
Distance Makes a Difference
Studies by the National Recreation and Park Association found that “people living more than 1 kilometer away from a green space have nearly 50 percent higher odds of experiencing stress than those living less than 300 meters from a green space.” In a previous blog we discussed the effects far distance from a park has on children's physical development. If green spaces are going to help with development of healthy mental and physical habits then we need to ensure that all community members have equal access!
A Natural Remedy
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), has become a frequently used term and is often casually mentioned in everyday conversation. However, it’s important to recognize that SAD is not just a trendy adjective and requires serious attention. Thankfully, experts have discovered ways to help promote a healthier mindset.
Our bodies have an innate longing for the vital nutrients obtained from the sun, and spending time outdoors can provide a rapid remedy for the winter blues. However, the benefits of being in nature are not just limited to this, North Carolina State University has discovered that green spaces are associated with decreasing health complaints, improving blood pressure, reducing stress, and providing a greater ability to face conflict. The National Parks Service team states that just spending twenty minutes outside can improve concentration and impulse control. It is clear that all aspects of health can be impacted with time outside.
How We Can Fight Mental Illness
The National Institute of Health states that “contact with urban nature has been linked with a greater ability to cope with life stressors, improve work productivity, reduce job-related frustrations, increase self-esteem, enhance attentiveness and provide greater life satisfaction.” Having been backed by data and research, why are there still so many communities that lack greenspaces? IMPACT Parks can help organizations be a part of the solution. By connecting funding organizations with areas that lack well designed green-spaces, IMPACT Park’s can reimagine the use of the greenspace and design it to maximize the use in the community.
Improve mental health for generations to come by creating a greenspace in your community. Interested in learning more? Check out our past success stories!