By Natalie Parletta
The sanity offered by the tranquil beauty of national parks has been conservatively valued at around US$6 trillion globally per year.
The estimate, published as a peer-reviewed Perspective in the journal Nature Communications, takes into account the economic cost of dealing with poor mental health, including treatment, care, reduced workplace productivity and antisocial behaviour.
Lead author Ralf Buckley and colleagues from Australias Griffith University hope such a tangible benefit will spark more political and economic support for initiatives to stop encroachment into protected areas and address declining biodiversity.
Conservation benefits everyone a little, but no individual greatly; individual health benefits individuals greatly, but society only a little, they write.
Ecosystem services value connects a global goal to a society-scale interest, whereas health services value connects a global goal directly to individual self-interest, which is more influential.
In that regard, growing urbanisation is creating a disconnect between people and green spaces, in turn impacting public health.
Multi-level evidence suggests that being in nature has numerous benefits for peoples physical health, as well as mental health and wellbeing, including improved cognition, sleep, stress relief and reduced anxiety and depression.
To put a dollar value on this, Buckley and a team led by ecologists, psychologists and economists conducted three pilot trials using quality-adjusted life years a measure of someones ability to carry out activities of daily life free from pain and mental disturbance.
They linked information on national park visit patterns, psychological benefits from nature and the economic costs of poor mental health in a representative sample of nearly 20,000 people, controlling for physical health, fitness, use of non-park green spaces and demographic, socioeconomic and family factors.
The authors found a direct link between visits to protected areas and individual mental health; scaling up globally, they found it is a no-brainer in terms of the bigger economic picture. But they hope the parks will remain free to all, especially disadvantaged people who need them most.
Parks contribute US$5-31 trillion per annum to the global economy, above what has been recognised previously, says Buckley. Thats at least 10 times the value of park tourism and 100 times parks agency budgets.
From a park management perspective, says co-author Ali Chauvenet, it means that maximum economic return to government treasuries may be from investing in low-key hiking tracks, lookouts, and other visitor facilities, to attract people to visit with their children as often as possible.
The annual health services value of Australias national parks alone came to around $US100 billion. Noting that the costs of poor mental health comprise around 10% of the countrys GDP, the authors suggest this would be 7.5% higher without protected areas.
This value already exists, it was just not recognised, says Buckley. People already visit parks to recover from stress. In healthcare terms, its patient-funded therapy.
The next step will be to test how mental health benefits depend on individual personalities, and on particular aspects of park visits, says Chauvenet.
Its possible that park visits could then become a routine part of the healthcare system, prescribed by doctors and funded by insurers.
Although more research is needed to refine the estimates, the pilot studies suggest that the overall health services value is around 4% that of global ecosystems.
This first estimate is imprecise, but that does not matter, the authors write. What matters is that it is large enough to merit more detailed analysis and application at national and local scales, and potentially, to become a powerful new tool in global conservation.
Continue reading here:
- Mental Health: Get the Facts on Common Disorders - December 7th, 2019
- Types of mental health problems | Mind, the mental health ... - December 7th, 2019
- Mental Health - New York City Department of Education - December 7th, 2019
- Adult film performers say the state of mental health in the industry needs more attention - CBS News - December 7th, 2019
- The Only Way To Eradicate Mental Illness Is To Talk About It: Insights On Brain Health From The 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit - Forbes - December 7th, 2019
- Perfectionism is a mental health risk - Vox.com - December 7th, 2019
- Mental health-related ED visits among kids on the rise in Colorado - ModernHealthcare.com - December 7th, 2019
- Family: Moline mans mental health relapse is to blame for fire and death of family pet - WQAD Moline - December 7th, 2019
- Throne speech recognition of mental health and addiction support applauded by pan-Canadian health organizations - GlobeNewswire - December 7th, 2019
- King County-based conference provides first responders with mental health resources - KING5.com - December 7th, 2019
- Bay View Center offers understanding ear to those with mental illness | News, Sports, Jobs - Alpena News - December 7th, 2019
- How The Peloton Ad Radically Changes The Conversation About Mental Health And Being The Boss Of Your Own Life - Forbes - December 7th, 2019
- Deep Bench: The effects of holiday stress on your mental health - WSAW - December 7th, 2019
- Farmers want face-to-face talks, not hotlines, about mental health - Grand Forks Herald - December 7th, 2019
- State will pay $10M to mental health providers after suit - KRWG - December 7th, 2019
- As Impeachment Looms, 350 Mental Health Professionals Warn Congress That Nuclear-Armed Trump 'A Threat to Safety of Our Nation' - Common Dreams - December 7th, 2019
- State psychiatrist to talk psychedelics and mental health - MLive.com - December 7th, 2019
- Mental Health First Aid training to be offered to town's police officers - Riverhead News Review - December 7th, 2019
- Feeling blue in the gray? How the inversion affects mental health - KSTU FOX 13 Salt Lake City - December 7th, 2019
- Winnebago Mental Health Institute, the state's psychiatric hospital, is short more than 100 staff as it seeks another new director - Milwaukee Journal... - December 7th, 2019
- Eliminating The Stigma Around Mental Health In The Workplace - Forbes - December 7th, 2019
- One of the most overlooked consequences of climate change? Our mental health - Environmental Health News - December 7th, 2019
- ThriveNYC and N.Y. Public Library announce mental health partnership coming to Mariners Harbor - SILive.com - December 7th, 2019
- Lowcountry prison mental health officer accused of attempting to bring inmate alcohol - Live 5 News WCSC - December 7th, 2019
- Rebranding Mens Mental Health: The Trojan Horse, A Bathroom Poster And Embracing The Ands - Forbes - November 26th, 2019
- Mental health services in Lebanon: an approach focused on recovery - World Health Organization - November 26th, 2019
- How Kamala Harris will address the mental health crisis - POLITICO - November 26th, 2019
- Rent subsidies, mental health care tied to housing stability for homeless - Reuters - November 26th, 2019
- Reviewing Mental Health On Campus - wgbh.org - November 26th, 2019
- Man accused of stalking former classmate going to mental health court - KSDK.com - November 26th, 2019
- Why men's brands need to talk about men's mental health - Quartz - November 26th, 2019
- Patients Turn to CBD in Search of Relief for their Mental Health Disorders - P&T Community - November 26th, 2019
- Mental Illness Behind Bars: The hard lessons of Orleans Parish - The Lens - November 26th, 2019
- The Labyrinthine Experience of Mental Illness - The Atlantic - November 26th, 2019
- How to improve mental health awareness in education - observer-me.com - November 26th, 2019
- Addressing the mental health care gap in primary care - Contemporary Pediatrics - November 26th, 2019
- New Partners Are Worried About Mental Health and a Looming Recession | The American Lawyer - Texas Lawyer - November 26th, 2019
- People are taking disturbing action when they seek mental-health coverage - MarketWatch - November 26th, 2019
- N.H. Will Apply For Waiver To Loosen Restrictions On Medicaid Mental Health Spending - New Hampshire Public Radio - November 26th, 2019
- The Steve Fund Improves Mental Health Services for Students of Color - Diverse: Issues in Higher Education - November 26th, 2019
- Clinton High School to participate in Mental Health First Aid pilot program - WAND - November 26th, 2019
- People in mental health units need a voice. Thats why Im helping them to vote - The Guardian - November 26th, 2019
- The Genetic Link Between Asthma and Mental Health - Pulmonology Advisor - November 26th, 2019
- Deval Patricks wife, Diane, excited to lead on mental health issues as first lady - MassLive.com - November 26th, 2019
- Plaid Cymru pledges to increase mental health spending and calls for drug law reform - The Pharmaceutical Journal - November 26th, 2019
- The U.S. Military Can Lead The Way In Mental Health And Suicide Prevention - Forbes - November 26th, 2019
- Mental health coverage is getting worse as opioid overdoses and suicides rise - Axios - November 26th, 2019
- Lecturers' strike risks having a damaging effect on students with mental health problems, complaints watchdog warns - The Telegraph - November 26th, 2019
- Ontario Recognizes Outstanding Mental Health Leaders - Government of Ontario News - November 26th, 2019
- Mental health in schools - Scottish Government News - November 26th, 2019
- How I Learned To Be Thankful Even For Mental Illness - The Federalist - November 26th, 2019
- Yes, Children Need to Take Mental Health Days Too Here's Why - Healthline - November 24th, 2019
- 7 things mental health experts wish everyone knew about therapy - Business Insider - November 24th, 2019
- Mental Health Treatment Is Still Harder To Get Compared To Other Services, Report Finds - KUNC - November 24th, 2019
- How to check on family and friends' mental health - KENS5.com - November 24th, 2019
- Letter to the Editor, Nov. 24, 2019: Kahlil Pfaff on mental health - Richmond.com - November 24th, 2019
- Immigration raids are tied to worse mental health among Latinos - NBCNews.com - November 24th, 2019
- When Mental Illness Is Severe - The New York Times - November 24th, 2019
- Commentary: Bry on why mental health, drug issues must be addressed in dealing with homelessness - The San Diego Union-Tribune - November 24th, 2019
- Immigration raids tied to worse mental health among Hispanic Americans - Reuters - November 24th, 2019
- 'A good mother': Woman who attempted to kill self, baby gets mental health help over prison - Argus Leader - November 24th, 2019
- How social media affects women and their mental health - KHOU.com - November 24th, 2019
- Weekly Health Quiz: Memory, Canker Sores and Exercise for Mental Health - The New York Times - November 24th, 2019
- After death of son, Overland Park mother applauds mental health training improvements - KSHB - November 24th, 2019
- Why its so hard to force people to get mental-health treatment in Pennsylvania - The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 24th, 2019
- Mental health court coming to Midland by 2020 - Midland Daily News - November 24th, 2019
- How to spot when a loved one needs help for mental health, and how to start the conversation - KENS5.com - November 24th, 2019
- Struggling With Perceived Isolation, Many First-Gen College Students Face Mental Health Problems - wgbh.org - November 24th, 2019
- Jordyn Woods Shares Fitness and Mental Health Advice in Instagram Q&A - Life&Style Weekly - November 24th, 2019
- Top tips to look after your mental health and eliminate stress this Christmas - Mirror Online - November 24th, 2019
- Microaggressions and their role in mental illness - Harvard Gazette - November 24th, 2019
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health Is a Key Piece of the IBD Puzzle - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic - November 24th, 2019
- One in four children in Germany have mental health issues - Daily Sabah - November 24th, 2019
- Sophie Molineux takes break from WBBL to focus on mental health - The Guardian - November 24th, 2019
- Mens Mental Health: Start the conversation and stop suicide - KAIT - November 24th, 2019
- There's a shortage of youth mental health services in Belle Haven. A new community collaborative hopes to change that. - The Almanac Online - November 24th, 2019
- Multnomah County's Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services is ready to rebuild a department that's been under fire - KGW.com - November 24th, 2019
- I've Hidden My Mental Illness From Those I Love Most. Here's Why. - HuffPost - November 24th, 2019
- Residents Demand Action on Abandoned Mental Health Facility In Tinley Park - NBC Chicago - November 24th, 2019
- Veteran mental health key part of pledge signing - VAntage Point Blog - November 14th, 2019