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Research shows that increased biodiversity is crucial for improved mental health, according to Health News on ET HealthWorld

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Study finds biodiversity is key to better mental health, Health News, ET HealthWorld

A recent study conducted by King’s College London has revealed that natural spaces with a diverse range of features are linked to better mental health compared to spaces with less natural diversity. The study, published in Scientific Reports and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Wellcome, utilized the smartphone application Urban Mind to gather real-time reports on mental well-being and natural diversity from almost 2000 participants.

The research findings showed that environments with more natural elements such as trees, birds, plants, and streams were associated with improved mental health outcomes, with these benefits lasting for up to eight hours. Additionally, the study found that nearly a quarter of the positive impact of nature on mental health could be attributed to the diversity of features present in the environment.

Lead author Ryan Hammoud highlighted the importance of protecting and promoting natural diversity to maximize the benefits of nature for mental well-being. The study, conducted between April 2018 and September 2023, involved participants completing over 41,000 assessments using the Urban Mind app. Participants reported on their surrounding environment and answered questions about their mental health, with natural diversity defined by the presence of trees, plants, birds, and water.

The research emphasizes the significant role that biodiversity plays in both environmental health and public mental well-being. Senior author Andrea Mechelli stressed the importance of recognizing biodiversity as essential infrastructure in cities for both planetary and human health. The study’s results underscore the need for policies and practices that support natural diversity to create greener and healthier urban spaces for all individuals.

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