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Front Porches and Mental Health

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Front Porch_Mental Health

This article appeared in the West Plaza Neighborhood Association Newsletter.

Mental Health_IsolationAs a therapist, when I see new homes in our neighborhood that lack front porches but have garages that allow the resident to drive into without seeing their neighbors, I get worried. Knowing your neighbors and building community promote health, and isolation does the opposite. It is a major contributor to suicide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a workshop in 2002 to address community designs that promote mental and physical health. A resulting article in the American Journal of Public Health included the following:

“A healthy community protects and improves the quality of life for its citizens, promotes healthy behaviors and minimizes hazards for its residents, and preserves the natural environment.”

Front Porch swing“Front porches, sidewalks, traffic calming, and green space; [controlled] residential density, housing features, land-use mix, quantity and quality of public space, connectivity, and transportation systems” promotes health.

“High levels of noise, graffiti, broken windows, and liquor stores may reflect poor community health.”

Nearly all the houses on my street have a front porch. Porch-sitting is a great way to get to know my neighbors, and to relax and enjoy the weather on a nice day.

I hope you have a front porch, too.

Check out my blog for more tips on living.

Want to talk? Make an appointment with me.

Please note, this article first appeared in the West Plaza Neighborhood Association Newsletter, May-June 2017 on page 5.


Author: Martha Childers

Martha Childers, EdS, LPC is a multicultural psychotherapist specializing in couples, grief and caregiver stress. Martha is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri and Kansas. She received her masters and education specialist degrees in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She practiced Zen through a variety of Japanese traditional arts for 3-1/2 years. Since that time, mindfulness has been an integral part of her life. Her interest in human nature, beliefs, and life styles led her to become a counselor.

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