International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 62, Issue 6, pp 647–656 | Cite as

Parks and green areas and the risk for depression and suicidal indicators

  • Kyoung-bok Min
  • Hyun-Jin Kim
  • Hye-Jin Kim
  • Jin-young Min
Original Article



There is increasing evidence that parks and green areas have beneficial effects on mental health; however, most studies have been limited to a certain or small geographic area. This study investigated whether parks and green areas were associated with the risk for depression or suicidal indicators among adults.


We used the 2009 Korean Community Health Survey data (n = 169,029). Residential geographical codes were used to determine the amount of parks and green areas in each administrative district.


The median amount of parks and green areas was 19.73 m2 per capita. Compared with adults living the highest amount of parks and green areas (1st quartile), those living in regions with the lowest amount of parks and green areas (4th quartile) had 16–27% greater odds for depression and suicidal indicators, after adjusting for all potential variables. People without moderate physical activity had higher odds for self-reported depression and suicidal ideation than those with moderate physical activity.


We observed protective associations between parks and green areas and depression and suicidal indicators. In addition, moderate physical activity may help to lower the risk for depression and suicidal indicators.


Natural environment Community Mental health Psychological illness 




This study was funded by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Grant Numbers 2015R1A1A3A04000923, 2015R1D1A1A01057619, 2015R1D1A1A01059048).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

KB Min has received research grants from by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. KB Min declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

This study used the public anonymous data and was exempted from obtaining informed consent from ethics review.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyoung-bok Min
    • 1
  • Hyun-Jin Kim
    • 2
  • Hye-Jin Kim
    • 1
  • Jin-young Min
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine, College of MedicineSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Institute of Health and EnvironmentSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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