Green and blue spaces - mental health benefits of being outdoors

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Green and blue spaces - how being outdoors can benefit our mental health



  • Contact name

    Claire J McCartan

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Queen's University Belfast

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 5 months, 31 days

  • Research summary

    A number of studies have highlighted the therapeutic benefits of green and blue spaces (‘green’ – defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation; ‘blue’ – visible surface water such as lakes, rivers or coastal waters but can include urban water like canals or ponds). Exposure to green and blue spaces has been linked to improvements in physical health including a reduction in cortisol levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and increases in self-reported health; there is also growing evidence of the benefits for mental health and wellbeing. How green and blue spaces transmit these benefits may be as a result of increased levels of physical activity and social interaction, greater exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D and healthy bacteria. However, further evidence is required to understand the characteristics of these spaces that promote wellbeing and how the underlying mechanisms may work in practice.
    This research will address two questions to assess the feasibility of a larger scale intervention project exploring the benefits of outdoor space for good mental health:
    (1) How do people with serious and enduring mental health problems perceive, use and benefit from green and blue spaces?
    (2) Does the interaction with green and blue spaces differ between people with serious mental health problems and the general population?
    As part of this study, we wish to access a sub-sample of the Closing the Gap Health and Wellbeing Cohort managed by colleagues at the University of York. Acquiring REC approval is part of the University's requirement to access the cohort. We wish to administer a short questionnaire to a sample of members of the cohort who have agreed to be contacted for research purposes.

  • REC name

    West Midlands - Coventry & Warwickshire Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    28 Jul 2020

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion