Pix: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images via Treehugger

A thriving urban forest can plant the seed of wellness in the minds and hearts of people navigating the dense brush of mental illness.

Research shows that access to trees reduces rates of depression, lowers levels of the brain’s main stress hormone, cortisol, and improves cognitive function. This is especially true in cities and urban areas, where residents are significantly more likely to battle depression and anxiety.

By breaking up concrete jungles with urban forests, we can help make people happier and healthier.

The positive impact of trees on mental health is well-documented in a growing body of scientific studies in the US and around the world.

For example, a study in Germany concluded that just living within 100 meters of a tree has the ability to reduce the need for antidepressant drugs. In Denmark, researchers found that children living at the lowest levels of green space had a significantly higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders later in life as compared to children living near strong green space.

Some doctors are even looking to trees as a form of medicine, prescribing struggling patients with a walk in the woods to fully immerse themselves in nature (a practice known as forest bathing).

Read more about the healing power of trees for mental health in this enlightening article!