Perks of parks: Study bares parks can save trillions in mental health costs globally

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  • A study shows that natural places such as parks can be a great advantage for the global economy
  • National parks around the world can lead into an improved mental health value amounting to trillions annually
  • Parks can also translate into savings from expenses due to absenteeism or poor productivity and antisocial behavior

Nature can be a great help to an individual, either physically or mentally. But a lot of us do not realize until now that natural places such as parks can also be of great advantage for the global economy.

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According to a study conducted by a team of ecologists, psychologist, and economists from the Griffith University in Australia, national parks around the world can lead into an improved mental health value amounting to about $US6 trillion annually.

This, the researchers explained, is attained when people visit national parks to relax and rejuvenate or as they rely on nature in making them feel better after going through a tough day or week on work, school, or from personal issues.

Studies have proven that time spent with nature can reduce stress, improve sleep and enhance cognition.

“People already visit parks to recover from stress. In healthcare terms, it’s patient-funded therapy,” Ralf Buckley, the lead author of the study, said in a report.

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The researchers conducted three pilot studies involving around 20,000 people to measure the impact of park visits on the quality of life. Then, they estimated how those benefits would translate into healthcare savings in Australia and globally.

They discovered that “without outdoor parks, the costs of poor mental health could cost Australia alone an additional $145 billion annually.”

It was also emphasized that aside from the savings on the cost of mental health treatments, national parks can also contribute on the savings from expenses due to “absenteeism or poor productivity and antisocial behaviour, such as vandalism and domestic abuse.”

The researchers suggest that the findings could also be used as an argument to build and invest more in parks. This goes for all nations.