As Climate Change Increases, Our Mental Health Declines

Photo of the horizon.

For this study, researchers examined the mental health records of 2 million randomly selected U.S. citizens using data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System between 2002 and 2012, comparing the responses to meteorological and climatic data from the same period.

The global health organisation said this in a report: "Coming of age: Adolescent health" to mark the World Mental Health Day commemorated on Wednesday. They used the data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which included a mental health-related report by more than two million people in US residents.

The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The survey involved an assessment of the participants' mental health over the course of 10 years (from 2002 to 2012). However, according to a new study, the effects of the rising global temperature would not just be environmental.

"We find that experience with hotter temperatures and added precipitation each worsen mental health, that multiyear warming associates with an increased prevalence of mental health issues, and that exposure to tropical cyclones, likely to increase in frequency and intensity in the future, is linked to worsened mental health", the study's authors wrote.

The study analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a self-reported mental health database of almost 2 million randomly sampled U.S. residents, as well as meteorological data over a 10-year period (from 2002 to 2012).

More specifically, the study determined that there was a 0.5 increase in mental health difficulties for people in a month that averaged over 86 degrees Fahrenheit when compared to a month with an average between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

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. In addition, they also reported that a 1 degree Celsius increase in average temperature was associated with a 2 percentage point increased prevalence of mental health issues.

This is not the first study that highlights the possible psychological effects of global warming to the population.

Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, one study led by Stanford University economist Marshall Burke found that a 1.8-degree Fahrenheit increase in monthly average temperature causes a 0.7 percent increase in suicide rates in the US and 2.1 percent increase in Mexico.

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