Everyday encounters with birdlife can have long-lasting, positive effects on mental health, according to researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.
What to Know
While there are mental health benefits of being around nature, there is a direct link between seeing or hearing birds and experiencing a positive mood that doesn’t necessarily co-occur with environmental factors such the presence of trees, plants, or waterways.
Using the Urban Mind smartphone application, participants across the globe reported three times a day whether they could see or hear birds and the status of their mental well-being as well as any association between the two and how long this association lasted.
The improvements in mental well-being that correlated with seeing and hearing birds was found in healthy people and those with depression.
Visits to habitats that have a high degree of birdlife could become part of social prescribing schemes. Such visits could play a role in preventing mental health difficulties and could complement more traditional interventions.
The association with birds and mental well-being could be used to promote the creation and support of biodiverse spaces that harbor birdlife and further the adoption of environmental and wildlife protection policies for the preservation and enhancement of habitats in rural and urban settings.
This is a summary of the article, “Smartphone-Based Ecological Momentary Assessment Reveals Mental Health Benefits of Birdlife,” published in Scientific Reports on October 27, 2022. The full article can be found on nature.com .
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