Climate Change can Affect Your Mental Health

by Hannah Joy on  October 9, 2018 at 8:26 PM Environmental Health
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Mental health issues are on the rise due to global warming, reveals a team of researchers. Global warming problems are coming closer and closer; and it does not matter where we live, as the warming effects of climate change go beyond the physical environment.
Climate Change can Affect Your Mental Health
Climate Change can Affect Your Mental Health

Exposure to extreme climatic changes has a detrimental effect on the mental health of individuals. Climate change catastrophe can become a routine occurrence by 2040, reported United Nations.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the report in which they discussed that the greenhouse emissions are at their highest at present and at any time can lead to disaster.

Previously, the scientists predicted a 2 degree Celsius rise in earth's temperature could lead to dangerous consequences. However, the scientists have not that even a 1.5-degree rise can lead to disaster.

In a study that was published in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have said that global warming can cause severe mental health in humans and can happen 22 years before 2040 deadline.

Nick Obradovich, study's co-author, MIT Media Lab's research scientist has reported that climate change can affect suicide rates, and mood.

The research team was led by Obradovich who looked at the mental health information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of about two million Americans and correlated it with daily meteorological and climatic data changes between 2002 and 2012.

The participants in this study were asked to report their mental health status, anxiety, depression, stress, and mood changes over 30 days.

Later, the team correlated this with the climatic changes. They found that when monthly temperatures averaged over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), the mental health problems also increased compared to temperatures around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50-59 degrees Fahrenheit). Further, precipitation days also increased mental health problems.

The results were presented in three ways- exposure to a month with a higher average temperature (over 30 degree C) lead to more mental health issues.

A five-year warming of the climate by 1 degree Celsius was associated with a two percent rise in mental health problems. Secondly, mental health problems of people affected by the hurricane Katrina were compared with those who were unaffected. It was found that those who experienced Katrina had a four percent more risk of mental health issues.

The team also found that the monthly effects of temperature on mental health problems were far more for women than for men (60% more than males). Further low-income individuals seemed to be affected more (60% more) with climate change than other income groups.

The team added a note to their study saying: "The major limitation of this study was that the data came from a developed nation and from temperate climates. They called for more studies in the "regions with less-temperate climates, insufficient resources, and a greater reliance on ecological systems" and predicted that these regions may have more "severe effects of climate change on mental health."

The authors concluded saying, "Given the vital role that sound mental health plays in personal, social, and economic well-being our findings provide added evidence that climatic changes pose substantial risks to human systems."

Source: Medindia

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