ReviewSOCIAL SCIENCES

Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective

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Science Advances  24 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaax0903
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0903

Abstract

A growing body of empirical evidence is revealing the value of nature experience for mental health. With rapid urbanization and declines in human contact with nature globally, crucial decisions must be made about how to preserve and enhance opportunities for nature experience. Here, we first provide points of consensus across the natural, social, and health sciences on the impacts of nature experience on cognitive functioning, emotional well-being, and other dimensions of mental health. We then show how ecosystem service assessments can be expanded to include mental health, and provide a heuristic, conceptual model for doing so.

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