Large-Scale Study Shows Global Warming Has Adverse Effects On Mental Health

Health Problems, Global Warming Linked, Per Study

World Mental Health Day: Climate change responsible for depression, anxiety

Photo of the horizon.

That said, Nick Obradovich, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, told CNN that the exact correlation between mental health problems and increased temperatures is unclear.

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.

The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For this study, researchers examined the mental health records of 2 million randomly selected USA 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.

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.

Worldwide, it is estimated that one in five adolescents experience mental health challenges, though most remain under-diagnosed and untreated. However, according to a new study, the effects of the rising global temperature would not just be environmental. Combining the responses with meteorological data, researchers found that an average maximum temperature greater than 30 degrees Celsius can increase the probability of mental health issues by 1 percent.

"Generally what we found was that exposure to hotter temperatures and more precipitation increased the reporting of mental health problems". Over the course of years, every one degree increase in temperature leads to a 2% increase in mental health related issues.

Is it possible that climate change can make a harmful impact on our mental health?

Exposure to a month with higher average temperature (over 30 degree C) was associated with more mental health issues.

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.

"Surprisingly", Burke told Medical News Today, "these effects differ very little based on how rich populations are or if they are used to warm weather".

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