What are the effects of climate crisis on mental health

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What are the effects of climate crisis on mental health

What is the climate crisis, and will it be the biggest mental health problem in future? What can we do for future climate crisis and its effects on our mental health?

climate crisis and its effects on our mental health

If you are suffering from future problems caused by climate change, you are not alone.

However, climate change is not just about the future. Its consequences are hard to hit today. That is why many call it a climate emergency, or a climate crisis.

Many others simply have not yet awakened to reality - probably because the whole issue has been betrayed, especially in the United States, as a political issue.

Of course, it is not. Facts are facts. The world is heating up at an alarming rate. So fast we just need to do something about it now to protect life on earth.

The rapid rise in carbon dioxide levels is caused by human activity. Even if there are people who do not want to believe it, their position is irrelevant. We still need to take action to resolve this issue. And quickly.

A May 2021 report led by scientists at Imperial College, London, warned that climate change is already affecting the mental health and emotional well-being of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Climate change is no longer a ticking time bomb for mental health. This is a global minefield, and explosions have taken place everywhere without enough emphasis on the casualties.

It is important to know how climate change is adversely affecting mental health and it is equally important to seek happiness amidst the gloom - signs that the situation can improve, and action we can all take to feel we are making a positive change.

There are three broad reasons for climate change affecting mental health, and we will examine each of them:

  • Anxiety about future climate change issues
  • Mental problems caused as a result of today's extreme weather, such as floods and fires
  • Suicides caused directly by extreme weather, such as heat.


Anxiety - Climate change will destroy everything

The facts are clear, the world is finally waking up, and there is no escape from the carefully analyzed predictions of destruction for communities around the world - unless preventive action is taken urgently.

Climate crisis deniers are perceived as the new Cubid-19 deniers. The new flat ears. But perhaps, some of these people deliberately live in denial because the impending doom is simply too difficult to contemplate.

Anyone with their head around the subject knows all too well that there will be no escape from the greatest thing that will ever happen to the human race. The Covid epidemic would be a walk in the park versus a full-blown climate crisis.

Unless we, as united people on earth, can do what is necessary to prevent destruction.

I use emotional language here, just because that's really the problem. Which of course will lead to anxiety. I myself have grave worries about the future of my four children and all the grandchildren to come.

The Imperial College report found that "climate change exacerbates mental distress, especially among young people, even among people who are not directly affected."

The condition is usually advertised as ecological anxiety.

The report was led by Emma Lawrence, who said:

“Anecdotally there are rising distress rates, and that will affect a huge number of people.

"The grief and fear that accompanies it, and especially for young people who see inaction in the climate, can really exacerbate distress."

A YouGov / bacp survey in the UK indicated more than half of the country’s population (55%) believed that climate change had already had a negative impact on their mental health.

It all stemmed from anxiety about the future. The survey found that:

Of those who said that climate change affected their mental health, 65% were concerned about the impact on the natural world; 63% regarding increased frequency of natural disasters; 58% were worried about what the world would be like for future generations; And 30% worried about how they would be affected by their lives.


Mental health - a life that is already affected by climate change

It should come as no surprise that the Imperial College report found "clear evidence of severe distress following extreme weather events."

Climate change is having an impact on our lives by creating more frequent and extreme weather conditions.

In many places in the world, it has manifested itself in fires, floods or droughts. Life was lost and people went through trauma.

Emma Lawrence from Imperial College London added:

"If you have lost your home, if you are at risk of recurrent flooding, if you are grieving because you have lost a family member to fire or livelihood due to drought, it is a shock and trauma that translates into some very prolonged distress and diagnoses of PTSD, anxiety, depression and increased risk of suicide."

The report claimed that 40 times more people could suffer from mental rather than physical trauma resulting from a weather disaster. It noted that the Australian government spent $ 76 million (£ 59 million / £ 42 million) to provide mental health support after the devastating 2020 fires.

The reasons included the loss of loved ones, homes, jobs and access to water, food and health.


Suicides - caused directly by rising heat

This was a shocking finding from the Imperial College report that: "There is a clear link between rising temperatures and the number of suicides."

Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers, according to studies.

And a report led by Marshall Burke and six others from Stanford, published in the journal Nature Change, found that higher temperatures raised suicide rates in the United States and Mexico.


Their disturbing report warned:

“Mental well-being deteriorates in warmer periods. Unlimited climate change could lead to an additional 9,000-40,000 suicides across the U.S. and Mexico by 2050, representing a change in suicide rates compared to the estimated impact of economic recessions, suicide prevention programs or arms control laws. "


Win-Win solution

climate crisis and its effects on our mental health

  • Dealing with climate emergencies manages to give us two remarkably positive results:
  • Saving lives and livelihoods around the world, currently threatened by climate change. 
  • Preventing the mental problems of hundreds of millions around the world, caused by climate change.


Clearly this is a huge task, but governments and industries have had to face it.

We can hope that they will act in time enough to prevent a catastrophe - but we can also put pressure on the most powerful organizations ourselves, improve our mental health, as well as make a significant protest.

We can also lead more environmentally friendly lifestyles, make ethical consumer choices, remove guilt feelings knowing we are, at least, doing something positive about the problem.

Emma Lawrence, from Imperial College London, said:

"Mental health is the invisible effect of climate change at the moment. It is a big problem that is going to affect more and more people in the future, and especially to exacerbate inequality.

“Climatic action seems to be very positive for mental health, both on an individual scale and in the community, but also as a society.

"Climate action that creates greener, cleaner cities and reduces inequality may improve the mental health of all citizens."

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