Climate change responsible for depression, anxiety

New climate change report issues stark warning

No matter where we live, weather touches each of us daily and the warming effects of climate change go beyond the physical environment.

Exposure to a month with higher average temperature (over 30 degree C) was associated with more mental health issues. It was found that those who experienced Katrina had a 4 percent more risk of mental health issues.

For the study, researchers combed through a decade's-worth of data from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which had 2 million people self-assess their state of mental well-being. 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. Because certain factors, such as lifetime adaptations to climate, can not be accounted for, the new study allows the researchers to say only that, on average, "warming over time associates with worsened mental health over time", he said. And over five years, a one degree Celsius increase in average temperature results in an even greater prevalence of mental difficulties. "It is time to act on mental health".

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. The survey involved an assessment of the participants' mental health over the course of 10 years (from 2002 to 2012). Among the 156 cities with data from both periods, they found that when the average maximum temperature increased by 1.8 degrees between the earlier and later years, the prevalence of mental health problems increased by 2 percentage points. Further low-income individuals seemed to be affected more (60 percent more) with climate change than other income groups.

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This study echoes (and builds upon) previous research that found an association between heat waves (which are expected to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change) and increased hospital admissions for self-harm and other health concerns.

He said millions of people are caught up in conflict and disasters, putting them at risk of a range of long-term mental health problems.

The global health organisation said this in a report: "Coming of age: Adolescent health" to mark the World Mental Health Day commemorated on Wednesday.

"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.

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