As Climate Change Increases, Our Mental Health Declines

Nick Obradovich, research scientist at the MIT Media Lab and co-author of the new study, warned of "catastrophic" dips in mental health for some if climate change causes the global temperature to increase by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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. "Warming over time associates with worsened mental health over time", Obradovich told CNN. In this report, respondents had to answer how many days during the last month they felt that their mental health was not very good, including depression, stress, and emotions.


"The most important point of this new study is that climate change, indeed, is affecting mental health, and certain populations (women and the poor) are disproportionally impacted", said Dr. Jonathan Patz, a professor, and director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said. The team led by Obradovich looked at mental health information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of over 2 million Americans and correlated it with daily meteorological and climatic data changes between 2002 and 2012. Researchers warned that as the earth's temperatures rose, the rain fall also increased due to increased water evaporation.

The researchers extrapolated that over a 30-day period, a shift of monthly temperature from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius to greater than 30 degrees Celsius would produce 2 million individuals who suffer from mental health issues. "Yet for too long, mental health has been mostly an afterthought, despite its overwhelming impacts on communities and young people, everywhere". Over the course of years, every one degree increase in temperature leads to a 2% increase in mental health related issues. However, according to a new study, the effects of the rising global temperature would not just be environmental. It was found that those who experienced Katrina had a 4 percent more risk of mental health issues. They write that humans could possibly adapt by, "psychological coping mechanisms, such as avoidance, seeking social support, or fostering mental preparedness". A clear correlation between climate change - higher temperatures, greater precipitation (in some regions), and natural disasters - and worsening mental health standards.

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