Climate change responsible for depression, anxiety

New climate change report issues stark warning

The study also found that a 1-degree Celsius increase over 5 years - or a 1.8-degree Fahrenheit increase - causes a 2 percent increase in mental health problems.

Anxiety and depression are among the common health challenges resulting from rising global temperature.

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 USA and 2.1 percent increase in Mexico.

First, they looked at temperatures and precipitation over a 30-day period and compared that to mental health.

Especially significant given the dire United Nations climate change report is the authors' finding that people affected by Hurricane Katrina had a 4 percent higher prevalence of mental-health issues than people in comparably sized communities who had not experienced a natural disaster.

A five year warming of the climate by 1 degree Celsius was associated with a 2 percent rise in mental health problems.

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Specifically, the shift from average monthly temperatures between 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) and 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) to averages greater than 30 related to a 0.5 percentage point increase in the probability of mental health difficulties. Based on this data, the researchers at Stanford University linked the temperature to a higher rate of depressive tweets and an increase in suicides in both the USA and Mexico.

Tarun Dua, mental health expert at WHO, explained: "Half of mental health disorders arise before the age of 14". "We gathered about a decade's worth of data from this survey, which is about two million people responding to the same question". Likewise, natural disasters, such as major hurricanes or flooding incidents, leads to a four percent jump in mental-crisis risk.

The study outlines three separate ways that hotter and more extreme weather stand to undermine the mental well-being of the people forced to experience it. "It is time to act 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.

Obradovich also acknowledges the elephant in the room, i.e., that this data raises other questions, like why don't individuals living in warmer places have worse mental health than those who live in colder locales? The survey involved an assessment of the participants' mental health over the course of 10 years (from 2002 to 2012). 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.

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