Sane train: Study claims link between living near a subway, mental health

Your pathway to sanity, or so some doctors say. via Flickr user Henning Klokkeråsen
Your pathway to sanity, or so some doctors say. via Flickr user Henning Klokkeråsen

The subway isn’t usually seen as a pathway to mental health, what with delays and giant planned disruptions and jerk behavior on the cars themselves. Even with all of that though, it can be easy to forget that it could be so much worse, and that you could be worrying about things like paying for gas and traffic and car insurance and running someone over while you’re focused on those other things. So with all that in mind, this new study that claims living near public transit is good for your mental health might not be so crazy after all.

The study, done by researchers in Turin, Italy and shared in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (and then by CityLab) got data on environmental surroundings of Turin residents with regards to “developmental density, land use mixture, public and green space, cultural facilities, and transit access.” To measure mental health, the researchers looked at how many people in the area had been prescribed antidepressants.

According to the results of the study, women and the elderly living in denser areas general and areas near public transit were prescribed fewer antidepressants than the same populations living in less built up, car-reliant areas. Now again, it sounds a little counter-intuitive considering how a city is full of honking cars and gridlock and the sounds of jackhammers. However, the researchers also point out that dense areas as opposed to sprawl, give women and the elderly “opportunities to move around and have an active social life,” and hey, those are things that are bound to make you happy. Unless you’re some kind of terrible misanthrope, but that means you aren’t going to be happy anywhere. So, if you’ve got friends who keep telling you how happy they are in the suburbs, know that what they’re really telling you is “I’m crying out for help, please rescue me from this hell.” Although you probably already knew that.

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