Managing Mental Health In Megapolis
There is a common belief that the fast urban life in a big city tends to get one depressed. However, a recent scientific study claims otherwise. As per the study, it is not that a person, who lives close to Nature, is less depressed. Instead, those, who live in Megalopolis, enjoy comparatively cheerful lives!
The study, published in the Journal of the US-based National Academy of Sciences on August 3, 2021, has further claimed that urban housing structures, human interaction, and interpersonal relationships greatly reduce depression. However, living in a relatively small town or close to the Nature can increase that risk!
Talking to the media, Lead Researcher Andrew Stier of University of Chicago has said that there are various types of mental stress among people living in big cities. At the same time, people, living in the urban areas, can easily interact with others, opening up their minds. As a result, the pressure is reduced, added Stier. However, anxiety increases rapidly in rural areas where there is less opportunity to socialise with others.
Stier, a Doctoral student in Psychology at the University of Chicago, stressed: “Evidence and Theory for Lower Rates of Depression in Large US Urban Areas.” He added: “Can we put innovations in to get people moving around the city more, to improve access for people who are cut off from the rest of the city, so that people actually can travel to other neighbourhoods?” Stier further said: “We still have to look and see what the data says about that, but that would be the most promising idea at a lower level from this research.”
Stier and other researchers have analysed four datasets for depression rates across urban areas in the US. Those are: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System; and two Twitter datasets of individuals and their messages in an attempt to find “depressive symptoms”. They have also considered education, rate of population change, race and income effects on depression rates in larger cities. According to the researchers, the most recent data available was from 2019. Hence, it doesn’t account for effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Meanwhile, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Clinical Research at the Nathan S Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research Dr Dan Iosifescu has claimed that the connection between Social Interaction and Mental Well-being has consistently been affirmed in the medical field. So, the lockdowns associated with COVID-19 have made research into the topic more important. “There are some advantages in cities because all of these disorders – depression, anxiety – they’re really associated with increases in social isolation. It’s in part why this recent pandemic has been so terrible for mental health,” he added. Dr Iosifescu told the press: “In cities, while they’re stressful in many ways, they actually have less isolation and more ability for people to network.”
Researchers have come to the conclusion that big cities actually have some mental health benefits over their smaller counterparts after carrying out studies in Megalopolises in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. They believe that further research will help them get a clearer idea about this in near future.
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