Multiple studies have suggested that living near green space is beneficial to mental health. But new research says we only experience these benefits when the green space contains trees. 

Researchers analyzed 47,000 adults over the course of six years. The team examined how living near different kinds of green space, including trees, grass, and low-lying vegetation, affects mental health differently.

Researchers observed several significant findings: exposure to more trees was associated with a lower likelihood of psychological distress and better self-rated health; exposure to more grass was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting poor general health and significant psychological distress; and exposure to low-lying vegetation, like flowers, wasn’t associated with any significant mental health effects. 

Additionally, limited or no green space nearby was associated with a greater likelihood of depression and anxiety.

This study suggests that trees are the key to experiencing mental health benefits in green spaces.


Astell-Burt, T., Feng, X. (2019, July 26). Association of Urban Green Space with Mental Health and General Health Among Adults in Australia. JAMA Network Open. Retrieved from