“Don’t worry, be happy.”

Bob Marley made it sound so easy.

But for us Londoners – most of whom are office workers, having to deal with the weather, the pollution, the extortionate rents, the endless train delays, the relentless screen time and all the other stresses of modern urban existence, things aren’t always so simple.

The reality is that two million Londoners will suffer from poor mental health this year, that’s 13 of the people on your full London bus, or more than 100 of the sardines people on your tube.[i]

We’re sorry, Bob, but “Don’t worry, be happy” doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this epidemic.

In fact, the more we learn about Mental Health, the more complicated it reveals itself to be.

It’s a jungle out here.

But the Data and Analytics team at ROAST want to help.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve been scouring the web for publicly available data, analysing it, refining it, stitching it together, and mapping it out.

The result is something which is truly the first of its kind – an interactive Mental Health Map of London.

The map directly compares the boroughs of London by displaying six different data sets as heat maps. The greener the borough, the better.

The first three metrics – Anxiety, Happiness and Life Satisfaction – are all key indicators showing the Mental Health of inhabitants in each borough, as reported by surveys.

The second three metrics are key urban factors which have been proved to affect Mental Health: Population Density [ii], Access to Open Space [iii], and Participation in Sports [iv].

You can play around with the map and see how your borough matches up against your friends’, or even use it as a tool to help out with house hunting.  Remember – the greener the area appears, the better it’s performing on your chosen metric.

 


How we did it:

When it came to collating all this lovely data for the big map, it was a case of deciding what information was most relevant in presenting the general Mental Health of the city and how we could relate this to the great boroughs of London. So we collated all the information from our research by listing all the borough names and importing the selected data from our sources so that information such as average anxiety and happiness ratings, access to open spaces and sports participation levels could be joined together in one place. We then melded this data with a London borough shape file in Google Maps, and created multiple files from this that contained a heat map for each category. We imported these into our big map code and roughly speaking, the London Mental Health Map was born.

Our sources of data:

  • Anxiety, Happiness, Life Satisfaction:

Data taken from the The Office for National Statistics (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/datasets/headlineestimatesofpersonalwellbeing)

  • Population:

Data from the Office for National Statistics (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland

  • Access to Open Space:

Data from London datastore                         

(https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/access-public-open-space-and-nature-ward)

  • Sport Participation Statistics:

Data from Sport England via London Data Store

(https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/sports-participation-rates-borough)

  • London Borough Shape File:

Data from carto.com

            (https://cooleyb.carto.com/tables/london_boroughs_boroughs_kml/public)

 

Software used to create the map:

  • QGIS – We imported and created new files using this software.
  • Google Earth- This was used for the same purposes as QGIS.
  • Google My Maps – We started the initial build here, before changing due to a lack of and then design capabilities. Google My Maps remained useful for processing files and seeing if they functioned properly before adding them to the final software below.
  • Google maps API styling wizard
  • Google Maps API – This was the location where the final map was built and it enabled us to do all the design work.

 

Find out more about the capabilities of our Analytics and Attribution team here.

 

[i] https://www.thriveldn.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/ThriveLDN-Publication.pdf

[ii] https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/our-policy-work/sport-physical-activity-and-mental-health/

[iii] https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/where-you-live-has-a-big-effect-on-mental-health-1.203966

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5663018/