Having a sea view is linked to a lower risk of depression

December 10, 2018

Older people whose homes had extensive sea views had a significantly lower risk of depression, according to ESRI research, which was carried out under a programme funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. This was the case even after other factors that might be associated with lower depression risk, such as age, gender, socio-economic status, use of medication and social engagement, had been taken into account.

This is the first study to consider the separate effects of proximity to the coast and coastal sea views on mental health outcomes. The research linked data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) with data from the Ordnance Survey Ireland measuring how close each TILDA respondent’s house was to the coast and how extensive (if any) their sea view was.

People living closer to the coast had a lower risk of depression than people who lived further away. However, the most significant difference was between those who had no view and those who had the most extensive views, with the latter group having a significantly lower risk of depression. The findings of this research suggest that sea views, rather than proximity to the sea, provides mental health benefits in the older population.

Anne Nolan, ESRI, commented: “These findings underlie the public health benefits of policies to protect and enhance coastal blue spaces, and suggest that urban planning should take these benefits into account.”