People often talk about the power of shorelines. There, you can enjoy the fresh sea breeze, the smooth sand, the sparkling sunsets, and the white noise of crashing waves. What makes coastal living more enjoyable is that it may bring you better mental health, according to a new study published in the journal Health and Place.
Details of the study
The researchers analyzed survey data from nearly 26,000 respondents, which makes the study one of the most detailed investigations ever into the wellbeing effects of being beside the sea.
The results suggest that people who live less than a kilometer (about two-thirds of a mile) from the coast are about 22% less likely to have symptoms of a mental health disorder, compared to those who lived much farther away (50 kilometers, or 31 miles).
Besides, people from low income households who live less than a kilometer from the coast are about 40% less likely to have symptoms, compared to those earning the same amount and living more than 50 kilometers away.
Implications of the study
The study results can bring people important implications.
"Our research suggests, for the first time, that people in poorer households living close to the coast experience fewer symptoms of mental health disorders. 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," said Dr. Jo Garrett, the leader of the study.
In addition, the research can play an essential role in appealing to governments to protect coastal areas.
“We need to help policy makers understand how to maximize the wellbeing benefits of 'blue' spaces in towns and cities and ensure that access is fair and inclusive for everyone, while not damaging our fragile coastal environments," said Dr. Mathew White, environmental psychologist.