Climate Change Would Likely Affect Mental Health Too

First Posted: Feb 20, 2017 03:41 AM EST

Climate change is real and happening in all parts of the world. It has a big impact on ecosystems as well the physical health of mankind. What is more surprising is that climate change has a wide range of effects on mental health as well, according to an expert.

On Feb. 16, 2017, the Climate and Health Meeting was held and experts from a public organization, universities and advocacy groups gathered to discuss the impacts of climate change on the health.

Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist, who is one of the speakers of the Climate and Health Meeting and an advisory board member for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that climate change is both a root cause of mental health crises and a "threat multiplier." This means that it makes existing mental health problems worse.

Van Susteren told Live Science that in 2013 study, which was published in the journal Science, it indicates that the high level of temperature and extreme rainfall is linked with increased levels of conflict between individuals and groups. This associated climate to a high level of aggression. One reason for this is that the higher temperatures increase the levels of adrenaline in the body that contributes to aggression.

Meanwhile, NCBI also reports that climate change would not only increase the rates of aggression but also could trigger violent suicides. This refers to more number of farmer suicides due to prolonged droughts because of climate change. The climate change can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder and physical illnesses.

Furthermore, the American Psychological Association reported that pregnant women who are exposed to air pollutants may also affect their children. They would be more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A research also indicates that the average numbers of emergency rooms visit for panic attacks and threats to commit suicide occur on days with poor air quality. Van Susteren concluded that action is needed to tackle climate change as it will also affect the mental health of children.

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