Poor Mental Health Rises With Global Warming

Desiree Burns
October 11, 2018

That said, Nick Obradovich, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, told CNN that the exact correlation between mental health problems and increased temperatures is unclear.

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

A landmark study from researchers in the United States found that global warming might trigger an increase of mental health issues in Americans. 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.

Scientists picked all the information from climate econometrics to understand if there are any links between mental health and climatic conditions in the past. He warned that a 2 degree Celsius rise can push human mental health over the edge. What researchers found was that even a moderate temperature increase could have a negative effect on one's mental well-being. The researchers were also able to determine that the people most vulnerable to these consequences were women with lower incomes and previous mental-health issues.

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This year's World Mental Health Day focuses on young people. "Months with more than 25 days of rain increased the chances of mental health problems by 2%, while temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius led to a 0.5% increase", added Obradovich. Meanwhile, months with an increase of precipitation can increase the probability of mental health issues by 2 percent.

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

Exposure to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes saw a 4 percent increase in mental health difficulties. However, "there are many other place-specific factors that may moderate the effect".

The researchers examined the data gleaned from the questions and paired it up with climate data that was local to each respondent. 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".

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