Trends in Mental Health and Green Space (Essay Sample)
For tonight’s meeting, the Springdale Community Coalition has asked each member to examine the trends in mental health issues in the community. Review the articles in your background information regarding mental health and green space. What measurements were used to assess mental health? How were these measurements related to green space? Analyze the amount of green space in your area and make predictions about the effects of the availability of green space on mental health in your community. Make a comparison of your predictions with available data on mental health statistics in your community (again you can relate this to state trends if data is lacking at the local level).
Environmental Health: Trends in Mental Health and Green Space
Data from WHO (World Health Organization) and World Bank indicates that in 2006, mental health disorders constituted 10% of the world burden of disease. Take for instant, depression depletes Australian economy AUD$3.3 billion annually due to lost productivity. It has also been estimated that by 2020, mental health disorders may rise to 15% of the global burden of diseases and that depression alone will comprise one of the worst health problems globally (Maller, 2006). There is growing evidence that high quality green space has preventative health value. Such green space includes; sport fields, parks and reserves, riparian areas like river banks and streams, trails and green ways, street trees, nature conservation areas or even less conventional spaces like green walls cemeteries as well as green alleyways. In addition to reducing pollution and the preventing build up of the particulates that exacerbate respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma, green space has been attributed to significant reduction of stress, alleviation of dementia and depression (NAO, 2006). Below is a discussion of trends in mental health issues and green space.
In various studies, several measures have been used in the assessment of mental health. Some of the measures that have been used include self-reported health indicators, use of ecologically valid objective measures, and use of salivary cortisol as a biomarker for variation in stress levels as well as experiments in environmental conditions that have been artificially controlled (Thompson et al., 2011).
These measures are related to green space in that it has been proved that contact with green spaces as well as natural environments do reduce symptoms related to stress and poor mental health and can enhance mental well-being in all age groups (FPHE, 2011). There is a strong evidence that there is a positive association liked to the experiences of natural environments with mental health. Contact with natural environments enhances psychological restoration, improved mood, improved attention, reduced anxiety and stress, cognitive restoration, reduced aggression and crime and at large self discipline (Thompso...
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