Poor people may be less at risk of depression if they live by the seaside, research suggest.
Scientists from the University of Exeter analysed the incomes and residences of nearly 26,000 people.
They found the lowest-earning participants were 42 per cent less likely to report a mental health problem if they lived within 0.6 miles (1km) of the coast.
This is compared to volunteers who resided more than 50km (31 miles) away.
A stroll along the beach is thought to boost mental wellbeing by reducing stress, providing access to 'clean air' and giving people an opportunity to socialise.
Poor people may be less at risk of depression if they live by the seaside (stock)
'Our research suggests, for the first time, people in poorer households living close to the coast experience fewer symptoms of mental health disorders,' lead author Dr Jo Garrett said.
'When it comes to mental health, this "protective" zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income.'
Around one in six adults (17 per cent) in England experience mental health problems like anxiety or depression, the scientists wrote in the journal Health and Place.
In the US, nearly one in five are said to suffer, National Institute of Mental Health statistics show.
While it is normal to feel down from time to time, people with depression may feel persistently unhappy for weeks or months on end.
Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – approximately one in ten people are likely to experience it at some point in their life.
Depression is a genuine health condition which people cannot just ignore or 'snap out of it'.
Symptoms and effects vary, but can include constantly feeling upset or hopeless, or losing interest in things you used to enjoy.
It can also cause physical symptoms such as problems sleeping, tiredness, having a low appetite or sex drive, and even feeling physical pain.
In extreme cases it can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Traumatic events can trigger it, and people with a family history may be more at risk.
It is important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know has depression, as it can be managed with lifestyle changes, therapy or medication.
Source: NHS Choices
Worrying about money is a recognised cause of depression, according