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Spatial Exploration of Mental Health Issues and Urban Parks/Green Spaces Accessibility in Pueblo and El Paso Counties, Colorado.

Authors: Fayad Zangaba*, University of Northern Colorado
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Urban Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Urban Parks, Green spaces, Mental Health, Pueblo County, El Paso County
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Public health officials and researchers have determined the importance of parks and green spaces in maintaining good mental health. The natural element of parks and green spaces has multiple benefits to ones’ health. First, it provides a pleasant scenic amenity that helps improve cognitive functioning and reduce mental stress. Second, it represents a free, accessible, and comfortable space for physical activity. Third, it provides a forum for social contacts. This project focuses on investigating the accessibility to parks in term of distance from communities and numbers of available parks. The main idea is to provide to the state and concerned counties officials, a general picture that may clarify the possible implication of parks in mental health problems and second, in finding solutions to these issues. Moreover, in Colorado, a previous study has already found that there were several communities, particularly in El Paso and Pueblo Counties, experiencing significantly high levels of mental health problems including mental health distress, suicide rates, and drug-related mortality rates during 2017-2018. Continued from these spatial explorations of mental health in Colorado, this study will examine the spatial relationships of urban parks and mental health issues in Pueblo and El Paso Counties using Geographic Information Systems and multivariate analysis. Preliminary results will address the sociodemographic characteristics of population based on urban parks accessibility, and its link to mental health in the communities.

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