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Living in an area surrounded by trees and foliage plants has a calming effect on one’s senses. Studies in the past have linked this effect to sound mental health. However, most of these studies were conducted on adults.

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proximity to greenery may help adolescents stave

Proximity to Greenery May Help Adolescents Stave Off Depression, Finds Study

Proximity to Greenery May Help Adolescents Stave Off Depression, Finds Study

Living in an area surrounded by trees and foliage plants has a calming effect on one’s senses.

Studies in the past have linked this effect to sound mental health. However, most of these

studies were conducted on adults. Now, a recent study has dug deeper into the association

between natural conditions and symptoms of depression among American teenagers. The

study, published recently in the Journal of Adolescent Health, has found that adolescents are

likely to benefit from exposure to greenery.

Researchers analyzed data on 9,385 youths aged 12 to 18, who were enrolled in the study in

1999. They observed that the teens who lived in areas covered by natural vegetation were

less vulnerable to high levels of depressive symptoms. The study also found that middle

school students exhibited the strongest effects.

“We saw that living in

an

area

greener was associated

with lower depression

among

population... and that

the

persisted

number of statistical

techniques, which gives

us confidence that the

association is there and

so are the benefits,”

said lead author Carla

Bezold of the Harvard

T.H. Chan School of

Public Health in Boston.

that

was

this

association

using

a

Bezold and his team identified participants’ location using geo-coding. They, then, used

satellite data to identify proximity to green spaces and blue spaces (water bodies) in the

surrounding areas. Furthermore, the researchers measured the amount and quality if it was

large and lush or small and sparse. The findings revealed that young people living in areas

surrounded by the highest-quality green space had 11 percent less risk of developing high

levels of depression compared to their peers who inhabited poorest quality green space. No

such association was reported for blue spaces.

As indicated by Bezold, a number of mechanisms are responsible for effecting the beneficial

properties of greenness. He also referred to previous studies that suggested reduction in

stress, increased physical activity and improved social interaction between neighbors for

www.sovteens.com

people living near higher density vegetation

people living near higher density vegetation. He also urged urban planners and public health

professionals to understand the importance of proximity to nature in a residential

environment to promote community health.

A similar 2016 study by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and

Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported improved mental health in terms of lower levels of

depression in women who inhabited the greenest surroundings.

Dealing with depression

According to a study that appeared online in the journal Psychological Medicine in October

2017, the prevalence of depression has increased among Americans aged 12 and older over

the last decade, from 6.6 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent in 2015. Significantly, the rise was

more noticeable among youths aged 12 to 17, from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 12.7 percent in

2015. The study suggested that depression mostly affected the individuals with least access

to health care facilities and mental health professionals. Most of these young individuals and

those with lower levels of income and education were more vulnerable to untreated

depression, the study found.

Depression is a common but debilitating mood disorder. It can affect the ability of a person

to think, feel and/or perform daily activities, such as eating, working and sleeping. Untreated

depression, as experts highlight, increases the risk of suicidal behaviors, especially among

teenagers. Therefore, if you know anybody who looks hopeless or shows other possible signs

of depression, help him or her get immediate medical attention. Timely treatment with

medication and behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help

individuals battling depression return to a normal life.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is one of the renowned mental health facilities for

teens in the U.S., which offers evidence-based treatment for depression and various other

mental disorders, addiction and dual diagnosis. The facility is equipped to offer best teen

mental health. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 512-1981 to get more information

about our teen mental health treatment.

www.sovteens.com