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Mental Health and Climate Change

Resource Document on Mental Health and Climate Change

  • 2017

Climate change is recognized as one of the top threats to global health in the 21st century. Mental Health impacts of climate change are significant sources of stress for individuals and communities. The social and mental health consequences of extreme and slow-moving weather events are well documented, ranging from minimal stress and distress symptoms to clinical disorder, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal thoughts (Arnberg et al., 2013; Fullerton et al., 2013; North et al., 2004). High risk coping behavior, such as alcohol use, has been associated with climate related weather events (Flory et al.,2009; Rohrbach et al., 2009). Intimate partner violence may increase as well, with women being particularly effected (Harville et al., 2011; Fisher, 2010). Suicidal thoughts and behavior have been shown to increase following extreme weather events (Kessler et al., 2008; Larrance et al., 2007). In addition, population displacement and migrations, breakdown of community infrastructure, food scarcity, loss of employment, and poor sense of social support and connectedness have serious consequences for mental health (Chan et al., 2015; Benight et al.,1999; Ursano et al., 2014).

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