Review of Urban Mental Health
Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. We know very little, however, about how city living affects mental health. There are aspects of the urban environment that may be harmful. One such example is traffic. A recent review found that living in close proximity to a major road increases the risk of developing dementia. Another example is artificial light at night that seem to alter the sleep-wake cycle and negatively affect sleep quality and mood. Lack of access to green areas may also contribute to the current high rates of mental illness.
After presenting the potential problems of city living, we turn to look at the solutions. There is great potential in city planning, that is, how we incorporate our knowledge of green areas, noise, and aesthetics in the construction of neighborhoods and streets. Such initiatives, however, require political vision, and it is of outmost importance that those in power are aware of urban mental health if we wish to improve mental health in our future cities.
KeywordsUrban health Urban population Urban planning Cities Rural health Mental health Mental illness Mental disorders
- Chen H, Kwong JC, Copes R, Tu K, Villeneuve PJ, van Donkelaar A, Hystad P, Martin RV, Murray BJ, Jessiman B, Wilton AS (2017) Living near major roads and the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study. Lancet 389:718–726CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Crawford MJ, Kuforiji B, Ghosh P (2010) The impact of social context on socio-demographic risk factors for suicide: a synthesis of data from case-control studies. J Epidemiol Community Health 64(6):530–534Google Scholar
- Durkheim E (1897) Le suicide: étude de sociologie. F. Alcan, ParisGoogle Scholar
- Faris REL, Dunham HW (1939) Mental disorders in urban areas. Chicago University Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Goldberg D, Graham T (2013) Mental health in our future cities. Psychology Press, East Sussex, UKGoogle Scholar
- Jaspers K (2013) Allgemeine psychopathologie. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
- Murray JA, Bradley H, Craigie WA, Onions CT (1970) The Oxford English dictionary. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Robinson L, Holbrook J, Bitsko R et al (2017) Differences in health care, family, and community factors associated with mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders among children aged 2–8 years in rural and urban settings – United States, 2011–2012. MMWR Surveill Summ 66(SS-8):1–11CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sartorius N (2002) Fighting for mental health: a personal view. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Sennett R (1992) The fall of public man. WW Norton & Company, New York, p 39Google Scholar
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (2016) Urbanization and development: emerging futures. World cities report 2016. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Nairobi. http://wcr.unhabitat.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/WCR-2016-Full-Report.pdf. Downloaded 10 Mar 2017