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November    2020

Nature may protect mental health during pandemic: Study


Tokyo, Nov 18

Researchers have said that nature around one's home may help mitigate some of the negative mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During this extraordinary time, nature around the home may play a key role against adverse mental health outcomes, according to the study, published in the journal Ecological Applications.

For the findings, the research team from the University of Tokyo in Japan, conducted an online questionnaire of more than 3,000 adults.

The online questionnaire survey quantified the link between five mental health outcomes (depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness) and two measures of nature experiences (frequency of green space use and green view through windows from home).

More frequent green space use and the existence of green window views from the home were associated with increased levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness, as well as decreased levels of depression and loneliness.

"Our results suggest that nearby nature can serve as a buffer in decreasing the adverse impacts of a very stressful event on humans," said study lead author Masashi Soga of The University of Tokyo.

"Protecting natural environments in urban areas is important not only for the conservation of biodiversity, but also for the protection of human health," Soga added,

With the recent escalation in the prevalence of mental health disorders, and the possible negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on public mental health, the findings suggest that urban nature has great potential to be used as a "nature-based solution" for improved public health.
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