Poor mental health rises with global warming, researchers find. But the planet isn't the only thing at risk as temperatures rise; your health might be in danger, too.Here are six ways that climate change might affect you, whether it's insect-borne disease or Type 2 diabetes.
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. The question basically asks: "How, over the recent period, has your mental health status been?"
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. Both people with low income and women were 60 percent more likely to have emotions tied to weather than those with a higher income and men, respectively, according to the study's findings.
A five year warming of the climate by 1 degree Celsius was associated with a 2 percent rise in mental health problems.
A new report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of dire consequences if governments don't make "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to stem global warming. "Yet for too long, mental health has been mostly an afterthought, despite its overwhelming impacts on communities and young people, everywhere".
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Mental health problems of people affected by the hurricane Katrina were compared with those who were unaffected.
As a result, the teams found that Exposure to hotter temperatures was linked to increasing rates of some mental health problem.
The researchers examined the data gleaned from the questions and paired it up with climate data that was local to each respondent.
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". "Warming over time associates with worsened mental health over time", Obradovich told CNN.
Some people were more vulnerable than others, the researchers found. Patz and his co-authors found that high temperatures impacted admissions for self-harm, including attempted suicide. Using that data, researchers estimate that climate change could be linked to over 14,000 suicides by 2050.Though more research is needed to determine what exactly causes that increase in suicide, the study's lead author said economic factors or biological changes might be to blame."As economic conditions worsen, that might also worsen mental health", said Marshall Burke, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He says that before their study, there was no particular discussion of the impact of climate changes on the mental health. 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".