We all know that for many, the beach is a calm and relaxing place. There is a reason many people take coastal vacations to unwind. But does being on the coast really have an effect on your mental health? A new study out of England suggests that living on the coast may be the key to better mental health. Living close to the sea could have therapeutic benefits and greatly affect your mental well-being.
The study out of the University of Exeter was one of the most comprehensive evaluations of a connection between coastal living and mental well-being. Researchers looked at mental health survey data of over 26,000 adults in England between 2008 and 2012. They compared the data of those living approximately 1 kilometer from the coast and those who lived 50 kilometers from the coast.
Using a 12-item General Health Questionnaire, researchers were able to evaluate the mental well-being of survey participants. About one in six adults in England suffers from a mental health disorder. The data from the survey included information regarding socioeconomic status and health-related behaviors. The study noted that while anxiety and depression affect all socioeconomic statuses, individuals who are of lower status are at a greater risk of developing a mental health condition.
Researchers found that living in towns and cities near the coast could considerably improve mental well-being, especially for those individuals of lower socioeconomic status. The study results support previous research that indicated that “blue spaces” are associated with better health and well-being. It also is in line with research demonstrating that living closer to natural environments can have an overall positive effect on mental health. The positive relationship between natural environments and mental health is stronger within more socioeconomically deprived groups.
The hope is that research such as this will encourage people and governments to preserve the coastline and encourage the appropriate use of coastal space. Policymakers must ensure greater access to coastal spaces to maximize the benefits throughout the community.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.