Environmental Effect on Mental Health

The environment has the ability to improve people’s physical, social, and mental well-being. Over the past few decades, numerous studies have shown that living in proximity to greenery helps people live longer and happier. 

Positive feelings elicited by looking at nature can produce restorative effects by reducing anxiety and blocking out stress. Above that, green spaces encourage physical activity, social cohesion, as well as group activities. It also acts as a buffer to pollution and provides a cooling effect on the surroundings.

Understanding its benefits, Mind Science Centre’s research focus aims to further ​​investigate the determinants and health consequences of environmental effects and exposure to urban nature on mental health and wellbeing at work and in the community.

Therapeutic Horticulture Study

Therapeutic horticulture refers to the process of enhancing participants’ well-being through plant-related activities. Previous research have shown evidence that garden settings prevent cognitive decline, depression and stress, and also improve social engagement in the elderly.

Mind Science Centre’s randomized control trial (RCT) aims to investigate the efficacy of horticultural therapy to improve the physical and mental well-being of seniors. The programme consists of planting, maintaining, and harvesting vegetables and herbs, creating nature-based artworks, and mindful walking at the Singapore Botanical Gardens, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Gardens by the Bay.

Our research found improved memory and immune response, as well as social connectedness and life satisfaction, all of which are important factors in building social resilience.

Find out more in our publications here.

Therapeutic Rainforest Study (TRS)

The Therapeutic Rainforest Study (TRS) is an 8-week pilot three-arm randomised control trial that has recruited 100 undergraduate students to explore the effectiveness of nature walk through the rainforest in promoting their mental and physical well-being. 

The students were randomly allocated to either of the three groups:

  • Mindful walking through the rainforest
  • Walking through the rainforest
  • Walking within the NUS campus

Each session lasted about an hour. 

We have shared our work with the academic community through an accepted publication, “The impact of restorative green environment on mental health of big cities and the role of mental health professionals” in the Current Opinion in Psychiatry and also a poster presentation in the 22nd WPA World Congress of Psychiatry which will take place in August 2022. See our publications here.

Therapeutic Effects of Nature PlayGardens on Children

Mind Science Centre is working with National Parks to evaluate the efficacy of a clinically-developed, nature-based intervention which aims to improve the emotional well-being, pro-social behaviour and attention span of children with ADHD and ASD. Additionally, caregivers may experience enhanced quality of life, reduced stress and improved general well-being. 

We are recruiting research subjects with the following inclusion criteria:

  • Male
  • Age 5 – 9
  • Diagnosed with ADHD or ASD

Participation in this study will involve:

  • Attending pre-interview briefing
  • 6-week intervention program (1-hr weekly sessions @ Hort Park or Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden)
  • Completion of questionnaires/assessments

You may opt to receive $25/visit for transport allowance and compensation for your time.

For more information, contact 9420 1137 or pcmbox11@nus.edu.sg

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