It’s believed that installing blue street lights can help decrease suicidal behavior and improve stress levels. But, some results suggest that negative impacts may also exist.
Blue street lights may seem weird at first, but there’s a good reason for installing them. Some experts believe that the calming effects of blue lights can help relax and calm people, potentially reducing suicide and crime rates.
But others question the validity of this theory and believe it doesn’t help improve people’s mental health.
One leading idea is that blue light encourages calmness and positivity. It’s a stark contrast to the red, orange, and yellow of typical streetlights, and some believe blue has a positive effect on people’s mindsets.
Some companies, including a Japanese train company, use blue lights for a soothing effect and to reduce suicides at specific locations. A 2013 study showed that suicides decreased by around 84% after installing the blue lights.
The older study explains that the blue lights provide what’s called a “
In this scenario, the goal is to influence and prevent someone from jumping in front of a moving train. The theory is that if someone encounters blue light, it will nudge them toward a more positive mindset and stop them from doing anything dangerous.
Since then, other companies worldwide have tried switching to blue lights to see if they receive the same results. In Britain, blue lights have been installed at a Scotland train crossing and an airport train station. The goal is to prevent suicide and crime, and responses have been favorable.
In addition, a study from 2022 highlights ten functionalities that may help prevent suicide using light, including positively influencing the person’s behaviors and attitudes.
The study also suggests placing light sources at eye level so people notice them.
But blue light can cause irritation or other negative moods in some cases.
A 2017 review suggests that blue light exposure may lead to melatonin suppression and increased alertness, interfering with your sleep schedule and negatively impacting mental health.
Some things to consider regarding blue lights involve the reason for suicide and crime reduction.
For example, it could be that the color change was different, making people more wary rather than having a mental health impact. Another idea is that people associate blue with police, so they don’t want to commit a crime in areas lit with blue light.
More research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of blue lights. But, using this research with other theories could help develop ways for light to influence mindsets positively.
If you’re considering acting on suicidal thoughts, please seek professional support immediately.
Calling or texting a crisis helpline will connect you with a trained counselor 24/7, any day of the year, completely free of charge:
Various colored lights
Light therapy can help treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression. It can also help subtly change your moods, including in the following ways:
- Red light: According to
2021 research, red light may trigger irritation, nervousness, and anger. It can also contribute to depression more than other colors and cause fatigue.
- Green light: Green-colored lights can lead to feeling
reduced pain. It can also boost physical, mental, and social health.
- Yellow light: Using yellow-colored lights can reduce feelings of irritation. It can also encourage feelings of cheer and delight.
- White light: In the presence of white light, people often have a more stable mindset and lower depression rates. They’re also more active and focused than when using other light colors.
While the results of blue streetlights reducing suicide and crime are promising, more work is necessary. There’s still much more to learn, and researchers consistently discover more information.
Understanding the connection between mental health and blue-colored light may help you understand how your environment affects your thoughts and emotions. If you’re interested in exploring how different colored lights impact your mental health, consider trying a SAD lamp.
You may also consider contacting your city’s Department of Transportation to help you understand why blue streetlights may be present in your community.