Where you live matters in almost every way imaginable, and there’s now more evidence that your location impacts your mental health. We now know that what has been colloquially known is now provably true: rates of depression are higher in suburban communities than elsewhere. Of course, you’re probably thinking that the rural lifestyle is that one that provides the best mental health, but what you probably don’t realize that urban living is also really good for you. So if you’re living in an in between sub-urban and sub-rural area and not feeling great than maybe you should move out the country or in to the city.
We think the relative higher risks of depression found in sprawling, low-rise suburbs may be partly down to long car commutes, less public open space and not high enough resident density to enable many local commercial places where people can gather together, such as shops, cafes and restaurants. But of course, there may be many other factors, too.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t potential benefits to living in the suburbs. Some people may in fact prefer privacy, silence and having their own garden.
We hope that this study can be used as a basis for urban planning. The study provides no support for the continued expansion of car-dependent, suburban single-family housing areas if planners want to mitigate mental health issues and climate change.