World Mental Health Day: Climate change responsible for depression, anxiety
13 October, 2018, 22:40
Exposure to heat, he said, can worsen mental health issues.
Poor mental health rises with global warming, researchers find. 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. 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 group of scientists gathered the data and made large-scale quantification of risks for mental health made by climate change. Meanwhile, in places that weren't affected by the hurricane, the mental health of study participants improved after the storm. In months when it rained for over 25 days, there was a rise in mental health problems by 2 percent, they noted when compared to months when there was no precipitation.
The data also reveals that the risk of mental health related issues is more likely to affect people with low incomes and women as compared to men. However, researchers looked only at the correlation between temperatures and diabetes, so the study didn't establish that temperatures necessarily caused the disease.Still, researchers found that diabetes rates increased by about 4 percent for every 1 degree Celsius of warming in the United States. 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.
Even small changes in climate can impact human behavior, leading to an increase in fatal auto accidents and a decrease in food safety inspections, according to a study published this year in PNAS.Researchers analyzed data from more than 70 million police stops, more than 500,000 motor vehicle accidents and almost 13 million food safety violations.They found that above 29 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit), police conduct fewer traffic stops, which can contribute to unsafe driving conditions.
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Finally, the team considered the toll of hurricanes on mental health.
This year's World Mental Health Day focuses on young people. "Warming over time associates with worsened mental health over time", Obradovich told CNN. What researchers found was that even a moderate temperature increase could have a negative effect on one's mental well-being. He says that before their study, there was no particular discussion of the impact of climate changes on the mental health.
Earlier studies showed that the rise in temperatures was linked to irregular sleeping patterns, bad moods and a higher risk of attempting suicide. Obradovich, who noted that some people near the coast may be feeling anxiety about the possibility of hurricane damage to their homes, agreed: "There could be additional effects of worry about climate change that we're not able to capture in this study".
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