The incidence of mental health disorders in urban areas is increasing and there is a growing interest in using urban blue spaces (urban waterways, canals, lakes, ponds, coasts, etc.) as a tool to manage and mitigate mental health inequalities in the population. However, there is a dearth of longitudinal evidence of the mechanisms and impact of blue spaces on clinical markers of mental health to support and inform such interventions. We conducted a 10-year retrospective study, following STROBE guidelines, using routinely collected population primary care health data within the National Health Service (NHS) administrative area of Greater Glasgow and Clyde for the North of Glasgow city area. We explored whether living near blue space modifies the negative effect of socio-economic deprivation on mental health during the regeneration of an urban blue space (canal) from complete dereliction and closure. A total of 132,788 people (65,351 female) fulfilling the inclusion criteria were entered in the analysis. We established a base model estimating the effect of deprivation on the risk of mental health disorders using a Cox proportional hazards model, adjusted for age, sex and pre-existing comorbidities. We then investigated the modifying effect of living near blue space by computing a second model which included distance to blue space as an additional predicting variable and compared the results to the base model. Living near blue space modified the risk of mental health disorders deriving from socio-economic deprivation by 6% (hazard ratio 2.48, 95% confidence interval 2.39– 2.57) for those living in the most deprived tertile (T1) and by 4% (hazard ratio 1.66, 95% confidence interval 1.60–1.72) for those in the medium deprivation tertile (T2). Our findings support the notion that living near blue space could play an important role in reducing the burden of mental health inequalities in urban populations.
- environmental sciences
- environmental social sciences
- health care
- psychiatric disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas