Poor Mental Health Rises With Global Warming

Poor Mental Health Rises With Global Warming

According to the researchers, every one-degree rise in global temperatures increases the risk of mental-health crises by two percent.

In fact, the research reports that short-term exposure to more extreme weather - like getting increasingly hotter over time - and tropical cyclone exposure can be associated with a decline in mental health.

But that's not all: The study used climate change models to predict that anywhere between 9,000 to 40,000 suicides could be caused by climate change by the year 2050 if nothing is done to stop the rising temperatures. When the maximum daily temperature averaged 86 degrees Fahrenheit or above, the odds that people would experience poor mental health were 1 percentage point higher than in months when the average high temperature was between 50 and 59 degrees, and 0.5 percentage points higher than when the average high temperature was between 77 and 86 degrees.

First, they looked at temperatures and precipitation over a 30-day period and compared that to mental health.

On the heels of a United Nations report that warned we have until 2030 to stop climate change from raising temperatures above a key threshold, another study found that the increasing heat could also lead to a decline to mental health. "For example, is poor sleep due to hot temperatures the thing that produces mental health problems?"

The researchers examined the data gleaned from the questions and paired it up with climate data that was local to each respondent. It was found that those who experienced Katrina had a 4 percent more risk of mental health issues. Further low-income individuals seemed to be affected more (60 percent more) with climate change than other income groups.

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It also recommended investing in mental health resilience-building through parents and teachers; and psycho-social provision in schools and community spaces, especially in hardship contexts such as conflict and natural disaster settings.

Between 2002 and 2012, almost 2 million participants were asked this question: "Now thinking about your mental health, which includes stress, depression, and problems with emotions, for how many days during the past 30 days was your mental health not good?"

Tarun Dua, mental health expert at WHO, explained: "Half of mental health disorders arise before the age of 14".

He said millions of people are caught up in conflict and disasters, putting them at risk of a range of long-term mental health problems.

Some people were more vulnerable than others, the researchers found.

He also said the study may underestimate the negative effects linked to changing climate, and there might be "stress and despair" occurring "as governments and industry fail to react at the pace recommended by multiple scientific assessments".

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