Nature doesn't judge you – how urban nature supports young people's mental health and wellbeing in a diverse UK city

Jo Birch, Clare Rishbeth, Sarah R. Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Reviewed research reveals a lack of young people's voices articulating if and how urban nature supports their mental health and wellbeing. This paper presents qualitative research with young multi-ethnic urban residents living in a northern UK city and offers an important counter-narrative to the pervasive notion of childhood nature-deficit disorder. Using interviews and creative arts workshops, we explored the value of urban nature for the mental health and wellbeing of 24 young people aged 17–27 years, 9 of whom had lived experience of mental health difficulties. Trees, water, open spaces and views were frequently experienced nature typologies offering benefits. Deteriorating landscapes, young people's shifting identities and perceived time pressures disrupted support. Young people expressed how urban nature encounters were experienced as accepting and relational, offering a: stronger sense of self; feelings of escape; connection and care with the human and non-human world.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102296
JournalHealth and Place
Volume62
Early online date21 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Cities
  • Mental health
  • Nature connection
  • Urban nature
  • Wellbeing
  • Young people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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