A team of Scottish researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Aberdeen have found that having a personal outdoor space during the Covid-19 pandemic had fewer mental health challenges than those who didn’t.
The Health experts surveyed 2,969 adults from across Scotland during June and July of last year. The findings, part of the ‘COVID-19 health and adherence research in Scotland’ have been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Professor of Health Services Research at the University of the Highlands and Islands and lead author of the paper, Gill Hubbard explains “Our findings show that people who had their own personal outdoor space, such as a garden or patio, had better mental health during the pandemic than people who had no outside space or who had to share their outdoor space at home.”
She further explains that “the study also shows that people living in affluent areas had better mental health than those in deprived areas. Taken together, this shows that the effects of this pandemic are worse for people who do not live, in homes with accessible gardens.”
The study also found that the people who believed that they were at a high risk of contracting Covid-19 and that it would make them very ill, suffered more distress than those who did not think they were at high risk from the virus.
Diane Dixon, Professor of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, explains that “The research team is currently investigating whether there is also a link between where people live, their risk beliefs and whether they will get the COVID-19 vaccine. We will present this evidence to government to support national efforts to keep people safe and also protect their mental health during this and potentially future pandemics.”
The link between the risk beliefs and the psychological distress was found to be much worse among those without their own garden or patio.
With restrictions beginning to ease and the vaccine rollout plan in full flow, its hoped that as we enter the Spring and Summer months the return to normal will help aide the mental health of everyone across the country.
If anyone needs any help or someone to talk to contact
Samaritans – Call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to write down your feelings
Mind – www.Mind.org.uk offers information and support about handling your mental health.