Improving care. Changing lives.

Child Mental Health Forum - Laura Kubzansky, PhD & Peter James, PhD

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 10:00am to 11:15am

Date & Time: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 10:00am to 11:15am

Location: Judge Baker Children's Center, 53 Parker Hill Ave, Boston, MA 02120

Does Nature Make Children Happy? The Role of Nature in Child Mental Health and Well-Being

Laura Kubzansky, PhD
Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Peter James, PhD
Assistant Professor of Population Medicine
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

A growing body of research suggests exposure to nature, ranging from city parks, gardens, street trees, and green roofs to national parks, lakes, rivers, and oceans, may positively influence children's mental health and psychological well-being. Investigators speculate effects occur via a number of mechanisms including by providing an inviting setting for physical activity; providing meeting locations that foster social interactions; reducing stress and restoring attention; preserving microbial diversity; and buffering exposure to air pollution, extreme temperatures, and ambient noise. However, a critical question is whether nature causally contributes to improved mental health and well-being, as many studies to date are cross-sectional or have limited measures of nature exposure. Despite the lack of clarity regarding a causal relationship and underlying mechanisms, clinicians have already started prescribing nature exposure as a treatment for behavioral symptoms related to mental and physical illnesses. In this talk, we will evaluate the strength of the epidemiological literature linking nature exposure with children's mental health and psychological well-being. We will also examine evidence regarding potential mechanisms through which nature can affect these outcomes, and describe the strengths and limitations of the literature. Finally, we will describe research gaps and identify future directions for the field.

Target Audience: Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, child neurologists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health clinicians and researchers, and students and trainees.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

1) Be familiar with research findings on the effects of nature on child mental health.
2) Understand potential mechanisms by which nature might influence child mental health             
3) Be aware of the gaps in our current knowledge on this topic


Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 10:00am to 11:15am

If you cannot join us in person, CLICK HERE FOR LIVE STREAMING


Continuing Education (CE/CEU) Information

Physicians: The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

Psychologists: The Children's Hospital Boston Psychology Division is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The Children's Hospital Boston Psychology Division maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  

Social Workers: The National Association of Social Workers has approved this series for continuing education credits for social workers.