Climate change responsible for depression, anxiety

Health Problems, Global Warming Linked, Per Study

In this new study released to mark World Mental Health Day, scientists anchor how mental health is seriously impacted. Earlier the scientists had predicted a 2 degrees Celsius rise in earth's temperature could have risky consequences.

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. They called for more studies in the "regions with less-temperate climates, insufficient resources, and a greater reliance on ecological systems" and predicted that these regions may have more "severe effects of climate change on mental health". "We have a lot of work to do to figure out precisely what is causing what". A 10-degree Celsius increase in maximum temperatures decreased traffic stops by 1.5 percent, according to the study, and that same temperature change amplified the risk of a fatal vehicle crash by half a percentage point.The researchers also found that health officials were less likely to conduct food safety inspections when temperatures exceeded 26 Celsius (79 Fahrenheit).

The Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance survey might be the largest public health monitoring survey in the world, Obradovich explained.

Researchers have added a note to their study saying that the major limitation of this study was that the data came from a developed nation and from temperate climates.

Survey respondents reported "anything that falls within the range of stress, anxiety, depression, emotional issues"; this "basically means things that are less extreme than hospitalisation and suicide but more significant than like grumpiness or day-to-day emotional [agitation]". Exposure to heat, he said, can worsen mental health issues.

The research team analysed the data in three ways. One signified there had been mental health difficulties over the 30 days.

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 United States residents. Meanwhile, months with an increase of precipitation can increase the probability of mental health issues by 2 percent. Their result: The occurrence of mental health problems was 4 percentage points higher among those who were hit by the hurricane than among those who weren't.

WHO noted that "evidence is growing that promoting and protecting adolescent mental health benefits not just adolescents' health, in the short- and the long-term". The group of scientists gathered the data and made large-scale quantification of risks for mental health made by climate change. "There are many other place-specific factors that may moderate the effect". What researchers found was that even a moderate temperature increase could have a negative effect on one's mental well-being.

"We find that experience with hotter temperatures and added precipitation each worsen mental health, that multiyear warming associates with an increased prevalence of mental health issues, and that exposure to tropical cyclones, likely to increase in frequency and intensity in the future, is linked to worsened mental health", the study's authors wrote.

"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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