Contact with nature protects children’s mental health

A Danish study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that children who live close to nature are less likely to develop mental problems over time.

This is because, according to the researchers, urban environments favor stress , which requires greater processing of neurons and can increase the likelihood of psychological problems in adulthood.

Nature and mental health

In the study, scientists analyzed more than 900,000 people, assessing the amount of contact with nature that these participants had up to 10 years of age. They also collected data on patients with mental disorders.

As a result, it was seen that the risk of mental disorder is 55% lower in people who spent their childhood near green areas .

And it is not enough that this contact is brief. For positive effects on mental health to be guaranteed, it needs to be more lasting.

After comparing different groups, the study also found that more time in contact with the environment in childhood is more important for preventing mental illness compared to just a few moments.

The results are positive even considering other risk factors for mental health that cause high levels of stress, such as: financial, social conditions and family history of psychiatric disorders.

How to escape urban stress?

Busy life in big cities can favor mood disorders, breathing problems (due to pollution), anxiety and depression .

Therefore, it is important that everyone take the time to interact with nature. Walking with your family in parks and exchanging car rides for rides can be good alternatives.

Of course, it is also important to reserve a part of the house to build a green space. How about a vegetable garden?

In the case of children, nature is a great place to spend energy, running or playing sports, for example. This contributes to the health of the body as a whole.

Being in touch with nature, despite being something simple, has a fundamental role in maintaining the quality of life and the balance of mental health.