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Visiting green spaces can dramatically lower mental health drug use, research has found.

Dropping into a park, community garden or other urban green space between three and four times a week can cut people’s chances of taking medication for anxiety or depression by a third.

The positive impact - documented by researchers at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare - also extends to physical health.

Finnish researchers surveyed 16,000 residents from Helsinki and surrounding areas.

The respondents were quizzed on how often they visited green spaces - including not just forests and parks, but wetlands, cemeteries and ‘blue areas’ like lakes.

Researchers also collected information from respondents on how many prescription drugs they took. This was used as a general indication of mental and physical health.

The correlation between time in nature and drug use was stark. A resident visiting a green space three or four times a week was 33 per cent less likely to use mental health drugs, and 26 per cent less likely to use asthma drugs.

Source: EuroNews Green