This nature of having a positive effect on human health is not news, but it is increasingly clear that it can have a therapeutic effect on mental disorders. GGZ centers and other healthcare organizations find each other at Green Mental Health, an initiative to put this idea into practice. There is a big conference this week.
People feel more comfortable and healthy in a green environment. But are they really? Is there scientific evidence of the relationship between greenery and health? “Yes!” Sociologist Jolanda Maas, who studies the influence of nature on the human mind, says.
Maas: “Green makes people recover faster from stressful situations. Not only does walking in nature help, but seeing green spaces really does have an impact. Green can also encourage exercise. Children and young people in particular exercise more in green. Green environment It also stimulates social contacts and thus social cohesion in the neighbourhood, which has a positive impact on people’s well-being and health.”
On the contrary, long-term residence in an urban environment devoid of green spaces leads to overstimulation of our attention system, social stress and mental illness. Today’s society is becoming more and more complex and our brain needs time to calm down and reset and there is not always a chance for that.
Nature and mental health
There is a growing interest within the Netherlands in projects and activities in the interplay between nature and mental health. Jolande Maas (ea) has written a book on the topic: Green Mental Health. On Thursday, September 30, 2021, the Green Mental Health Foundation is also organizing an online conference on Nature and Mental Health.