Walking in Nature Improves Mental Health of Kids

The pandemic was a strain on the mental health of most. Worryingly, several surveys reveal that children and adolescents are struggling with mental health from an early age. 

MHA National says 9.7% of young adults in the US have a “severe major depression.” Suicide rates are at an all-time high.

A survey conducted by in the UK revealed that teenagers struggled to cope with the January lockdown more than previous coronavirus restrictions. 

The Mental Health Foundation reveals shocking statistics about the mental health of young adults and children. 

  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24
  • 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem
  • 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

Lockdown during the pandemic is not the cause of poor mental health in young people, but it did exacerbate the problem. 

One of the causes that have been pinpointed is the amount of time young people spend on mobile devices. Social media is also thought to be a leading culprit

Healing Qualities of Nature 

Scientists are not exactly sure why nature has healing qualities that soothe body and mind but a growing body of studies show that it does. 

One study published in Nature claims that spending as little as two hours a week in nature improves health and well-being in many ways. Among the illnesses, nature is said to ease is obesity, diabetes, asthma, and myopia in children.

In contrast, too much screen time has been linked with depression and anxiety. A study performed at the University of Illinois found that a high number of young adults diagnosed with mental health issues had an addiction to mobile technologies. 

What’s more, social media and the internet trap teenagers in a vicious cycle. They use the internet as an escaping mechanism to avoid the numbing feeling associated with anxiety and depression. Yet too much screen time makes their condition worse. 

Health experts are urging parents to encourage their children to escape into nature rather than exploring the internet. The key factor is to reduce the number of stress teenagers is put under in social environments and the pressure of school exams. 

Connecting with Nature Reduces Stress and Anxiety 

In the modern age, there is a tendency for children to be more inclined to stay indoors watching TV and playing computer games. Socializing is often conducted behind the safety of a screen. 

Psychologists think the lack of quality interaction with other humans is at the root of a child's mental health. In essence, young people are losing touch with their own nature - and ultimately with each other.

Immersing yourself in nature is a stress reliever and can dampen feelings of fear and anger - three common components that contribute to mental health conditions in young adults.

Free of fear and stress, kids feel better about themselves, more confident, and more willing to engage with others. Teaching children and young adults the benefits of being in nature and beyond could shape their future. 

To make nature walks more engaging, why not incorporate games and challenges that are fun, educational, and engaging. I found this cool article that will give you loads of great ideas to help your kids connect with nature. 

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