TPS 702: Green space and population health, Exhibition Hall, Ground floor, August 28, 2019, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Evidence is growing indicating that living near and spending time in green/blue spaces (GBS) have beneficial mental health and wellbeing impacts. However, the evidence base is still limited, and is dominated by cross-sectional studies. The aim of this natural experimental study is to robustly quantify the impact of exposure to GBS on mental health and wellbeing through the addition of novel GBS exposure measures to existing population scale health data linkage infrastructure.
We are using Geographic Information Systems to create 11 years (2008-18) of quarterly GBS metrics using digital map and satellite data for 1.4 million homes in Wales, UK. The Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank (https://saildatabank.com/) permits anonymised linkage of these GBS measures to routine individual primary care mental health data. SAIL is also being used to link with data from the National Survey for Wales on visits to GBS and subjective wellbeing measures for 12,000 people.
In the first phase of analyses, we have used SAIL to link GBS data and household locations via road/footpath networks creating quarterly household-level GBS metrics. We accurately linked 97% of individuals and their health data to their home location and associated local GBS density. These exposure-health data pairs (n=1.65 million), updated quarterly, are the underpinning for the longitudinal panel study. Using primary care data and an established algorithm, we identified 35,000 people with a common mental health disorder in 2016.
These linked data will permit exploration of how in-situ environmental changes over time, exposure change through moving home, and visits to GBS impact on mental health outcomes. Findings from this study will address gaps in the evidence and support environmental planning policy to shape living environments to benefit health.