About one in six adults in England suffer from mental health disorders, the researchers noted. Depression and anxiety are more likely in people from lower income backgrounds. But their findings suggest that “access to the coast could help to reduce these health inequalities in towns and cities close to the sea.”
The Exeter team used data from the Health Survey for England and compared people’s health in relation to their proximity to the coast: from those living about half a mile away to those more than 30 miles away.
“Our research suggests, for the first time, that people in poorer households living close to the coast experience fewer symptoms of mental health disorders,” said Jo Garrett, who led the study, which was published in the journal Health and Place. “When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income.”