A new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health highlights the beneficial role of greenness and access to green or blue spaces in reducing socioeconomic-related inequalities in mental health.

The researchers found that every additional 360m to the nearest green (e.g. park, field or wooded area) or blue (e.g. lake, marina, or the sea) space was associated with higher odds of anxiety and depression.

The study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, presents the largest, most comprehensive evaluation of the effect of differences in exposure to green and blue spaces on mental health over a 10-year period.

While the effects of green spaces on mental health have been well documented, using the medical records of an entire adult population over such a length of time gives a new level of understanding to this work.

The researchers emphasise that investing in improved public green spaces might bring mental health benefits to everyone, but particularly for those living in more deprived areas. The findings can support organisations and authorities responsible for green and blue spaces, who are attempting to engage planners and policymakers, to ensure that local green and blue spaces meet the health needs of residents.

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