Study examines how climate change puts Americans' mental health at risk
Study examines how climate change puts Americans' mental health at risk
Health Problems, Global Warming Linked, Per Study
13 October, 2018, 22:37
"We had this nice decade's worth of information about how environmental conditions related to the way people reported their mental health status", Obradovich said.
According to the researchers, every one-degree rise in global temperatures increases the risk of mental-health crises by two percent. A study published this year in the journal Nature Climate Change found that a rise of 1 degree Celsius in monthly temperatures correlated with a 0.68% increase in the United States suicide rate. "For example, is poor sleep due to hot temperatures the thing that produces mental health problems?"
Worldwide, it is estimated that one in five adolescents experience mental health challenges, though most remain under-diagnosed and untreated. 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.
Overall, those most vulnerable to the climate change effects studied include people with lower incomes, individuals with existing mental health problems and women, the research indicated.
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Even a modest rise in temperatures is associated with an increase in mental health issues, according to a study published this year that surveyed almost 2 million USA residents. 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.
Finally, the team considered the toll of hurricanes on mental health.
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 researchers examined the data gleaned from the questions and paired it up with climate data that was local to each respondent. "Warming over time associates with worsened mental health over time", Obradovich told CNN. Warmer temperatures will only make those storms worse.Dr. Mona Sarfaty, director of the program on climate and health at George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication, said that "when increased rainfall leads to flooding, there can be a mixing of stormwater and sewage that leads to bacterial contamination in the water."That contamination can affect crops too, contributing to foodborne diseases". 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. 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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