The experience of natural spaces, brimming with greenish light, the smells of soil and the quiet fluttering of leaves in the breeze can calm our frenetic modern lives. It’s as though our very cells can exhale when surrounded by nature, relaxing our bodies and minds.
Some people seek to maximize the purported therapeutic effects of contact with the unbuilt environment by embarking on sessions of forest bathing, slowing down and becoming mindfully immersed in nature.
But in a rapidly urbanizing world, green spaces are shrinking as our cities grow out and up. Scientists are working to understand how green spaces, or lack of them, can affect our mental health.
Full story at NPR
The researchers analyzed data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationwide survey administered to parents of children and teens. Of the 46.6 million children ages 6 through 18 whose parents completed the survey, 7.7 million had at least one mental health condition — such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — and only half received treatment or counseling from a mental health provider in the 12 months prior to the survey.
The number of children with a mental health condition varied widely from state to state. In Hawaii, for example, 7.6% of children had one of the conditions, compared with 27.2% in Maine. The number of children with a diagnosed mental health condition who weren’t treated by a provider also ranged widely, from 29.5% in the District of Columbia to 72.2% in North Carolina.