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New Study Reveals People Exposed to Outdoors During First Year of Pandemic Suffered Significantly Less Depression and Anxiety

A new study from the University of Colorado Boulder shows ( that people who were exposed to more green space during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly less depression and anxiety than those who didn’t. The study was published in the March 2 journal PLOS One.

The study also shows that during that time when mental health problems soared in part because of financial woes, supply shortages and nonstop news coverage of the virus, people flocked outdoors. The report shows that one-third spent more time outside than they did pre-COVID.

“This research shows how critical it is to keep parks and green spaces open in times of crisis,” said senior author Colleen Reid in a statement. “It also shows that, as a public health measure, more effort should be made to put in green spaces and make them accessible.”

“Not surprisingly, we found that the pandemic impacted mental health negatively,” said co-author Emma Rieves in a statement. “But we also found that green space could have a powerful protective effect, even at a time of such extraordinary stressors.”

People who spent more time online looking at new also reported poorer mental health.

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