Climate change responsible for depression, anxiety

Henrietta Strickland
October 11, 2018

Earlier the scientists had predicted a 2 degrees Celsius rise in earth's temperature could have unsafe consequences.

According to the researchers, every one-degree rise in global temperatures increases the risk of mental-health crises by two percent. The authors explain that yearly warming climates, short term exposure to extremes of weather as well as routine exposure to cycles could have a detrimental effect on the mental health of individuals. The author of that study, Dr. Jonathan Patz, a professor and director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told CNN that, if anything, he expects the newer study underestimates the "stress and despair" likely to be caused by government inaction in the face of climate change.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said United Nations is committed to creating a world where by 2030 everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to in support of their mental health, in a world free of stigma and discrimination.

In the new study, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab along and Harvard compared temperature changes and mental health issues. The survey involved an assessment of the participants' mental health over the course of 10 years (from 2002 to 2012). Further precipitation days also raised mental health problems they noted.

That data was compared to the report of rising heat across the USA. Researchers warned that as the earth's temperatures rose, the rain fall also increased due to increased water evaporation.

In fact, a 1-degree C change - or a 1.8-degree F increase - could cause a 2 percent increase in mental health problems in just five years. "Yet for too long, mental health has been mostly an afterthought, despite its overwhelming impacts on communities and young people, everywhere". Likewise, natural disasters, such as major hurricanes or flooding incidents, leads to a four percent jump in mental-crisis risk.

"If we change our attitude to mental health - we change the world". However, "there are many other place-specific factors that may moderate the effect". 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". They write that humans could possibly adapt by, "psychological coping mechanisms, such as avoidance, seeking social support, or fostering mental preparedness".

"These results provide added large-scale evidence to the growing literature linking climate change and mental health".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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