Living near the sea linked to improved mental health

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A team of researchers at the University of Exeter scoured through survey data for any connection between coastal proximity and effects on well-being. They determined that living close to the sea could have considerable benefits for one’s mental health.

The study, published in the journal Health and Place, took into account the survey data of approximately 26,000 participants from 2008 to 2012. It is considered one of the most comprehensive studies pertaining to coastal living and well-being effects.

The team compared the data of participants living less than 1km and others more than 50km away from the coast. The mental health of all participants was measured utilizing the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire.

The data included various measures such as health behaviors and socioeconomic status. Health disorders, like anxiety and depression, affects people of all socioeconomic statuses; however, lower socioeconomic status may increase the risk of such conditions.

In the findings, researchers indicated living in towns or cities near the coast could considerably improve well-being.

Jo Garrett, the study’s lead author, stated: “These findings add to the growing evidence base linking blue spaces, particularly coastal environments, with better health and wellbeing.”

“When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income. This research also supports previous work which suggests that the positive relationship between living in more natural environments and mental health is stronger within more socioeconomically deprived groups.”