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Environmental Factors Affecting Mental Health

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Environmental Factors Affecting Mental Health – , often occur simultaneously [very high confidence]. Most affected people recover over time, although a significant proportion of contacts develop symptoms

Related disasters. These groups include children, older adults, women (especially pregnant and postpartum women), people with mental illness, the economically disadvantaged, the homeless, and first responders [high confidence]. Communities that rely on the natural environment for their livelihoods and livelihoods, and populations living in areas most vulnerable to specific impacts

Environmental Factors Affecting Mental Health

, direct perceived experience of climate change, changes in the local environment [high confidence]. Media and popular culture portrayals of climate change influence stress responses and mental health and well-being [medium confidence].

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Due to extreme heat [high confidence]. Increases in extreme heat will increase the risk of illness and death for people with mental illness, including older adults and people taking prescription drugs that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature [high confidence].

And well-being as components of the overall climate-related impact on human health. The impact of climate change on mental health ranges from minimal symptoms of stress and distress to clinical illness, e.g.

Other consequences include impacts on the daily lives, perceptions and experiences of individuals and communities trying to understand and respond appropriately to climate change and its impacts.

Disasters, especially natural disasters, are common and an important component of the overall impact on health. These consequences of climate change-related impacts rarely occur alone, but often interact with other social and environmental stressors.

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Residents and volunteers in Queens, New York, sift through donations of clothing and food after Superstorm Sandy on November 3, 2012. Most people affected by a traumatic event recover over time, and some experience a series of positive changes, post-traumatic growth , as a result of dealing with or experiencing the traumatic event. ©Alec McClure/Demotix/Corbis

. Individuals and communities are affected both by the direct experience of local events caused by climate change and by the consequences of climate change.

For example, public communication and media messages about climate change and its expected consequences can influence perceptions of physical and social risks, thereby affecting mental health and well-being. The interactive and cumulative nature of climate change impacts on health, mental health and well-being are key factors in understanding the overall impact of climate change on human health.

Humans have the inherent ability to adapt to new information and experiences and adopt new behaviors in response to change. Mental health practitioners also use a range of interventions and treatments to address mental health conditions and stress responses. These interventions are delivered in the context of health systems that have limited resources to provide these services. These considerations are not discussed in detail because this chapter focuses on the current state of the science on the effects of climate change on mental health and well-being rather than on potential changes in actions that can be taken to address climate-related impacts and risks. .

Social Determinants Of Health

Pathways exist in the context of other factors that positively or negatively influence health outcomes (grey boundaries). Key factors influencing health outcomes and

And behavioral choices. Key factors influencing health outcomes and vulnerability at the larger community or societal scale, such as the natural and built environment, management and governance, and institutions, are shown in the left box. All these influencing factors can also be influenced by

, mental health and well-being. The diagram below illustrates how the impacts of climate change have overlapping and interrelated mental, physical and community health impacts. These effects include exposure to higher temperatures and environmental extremes

Events and the spread of vector-borne diseases, degradation of air and water quality, and erosion of food safety and security.

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In the center of the figure are figures representing adults, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The circle on the left image

Areas that will be affected by climate – medical and physical health, mental health and community health. (Image source: adapted from Clayton et al., 2014).

In the US, the impact of extreme weather on mental health has been studied primarily for hurricanes and floods

Although many studies discuss the impact of specific historical events on mental health, they demonstrate the types of mental health problems that can arise when climate change leads to further increases in the frequency, severity or duration of certain types of extreme weather (see p. 1: Introduction and Chapter 4: Extreme events). The mental health impacts of events such as hurricanes, floods and droughts are expected to increase as more people experience the stress (often traumatic) of these disasters.

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Many people exposed to climate or weather-related natural disasters experience stress reactions and serious mental health consequences, including symptoms such as:

All of these responses have the potential to interfere with an individual’s functioning and well-being, and may be particularly problematic for certain groups (see Section 8.3: “Populations of Concern”).

Days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, an elderly couple walked to the Superdome. New Orleans, Louisiana, September 1, 2005 © Michael Ainsworth The Dallas Morning News/Corbis

Life-threatening events, such as devastating hurricanes such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, are associated with

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After a hurricane, levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increased among people who perceived community members as less supportive or helpful to each other.

Depression and generalized anxiety are also common consequences of extreme events such as hurricanes and floods that involve loss of life, resources or social support and social networks, or events that involve widespread displacement and disruption of lives.

For example, chronic anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and increased aggression (in children) have been found to be associated with flooding.

Individuals who use alcohol to cope with stress and those with alcohol use disorders are most likely to increase their drinking following extreme weather events.

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Suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Eighteen months after Katrina, residents increased in both suicidal ideation (from 2.8% to 6.4%) and actual suicide plans (from 1.0% to 2.5%).

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a study of internally displaced women living in temporary housing found that reported suicide attempts and completed suicide rates were 78.6 and 14.7 times higher, respectively, than the regional average.

In the six months following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the murder/suicide rate in hurricane-ravaged Miami-Dade County doubled to two per month, compared to an average of one per month in the previous five years (not included). Hurricane activity on the same scale.

Climate or weather-related disasters can strain available resources to provide adequate mental (and even immediate physical) health care due to an increase in the number of people experiencing severe stress and mental health reactions. Communities adversely affected by these events also have reduced interpersonal and social networks available to support mental health needs and recovery due to the disruption and disruption caused by these events.

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Many areas of the United States experience droughts (see Chapter 1: Introduction and Chapter 4: Extreme Events).

Over time, long-term droughts interact with multiple environmental and social stresses to disrupt the lives and livelihoods and functioning of individuals, households and communities.

Prolonged droughts can have significant long-term impacts on landscapes, rural agricultural industries and communities, and on individuals and communities

Prolonged drought in rural areas is accompanied by a series of interactions of economic, social and daily life situations. Drought-related concerns and psychological distress have increased in areas of Australia where drought has been declared, particularly in areas where livelihoods and industries have been lost.

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During heat waves, urban residents may experience increased heat-related health effects (see Chapter 2: Temperature-related death and disease). The mental health effects of extreme heat are associated with increased rates of illness and death, aggressive behavior, violence and suicide, and with increased admissions to hospital admissions and emergency rooms for people with mental health or mental health problems.

People with mental illness are particularly vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat or heat waves. Across six case-control studies involving 1,065

Related deaths, found that pre-existing mental illness tripled the risk of death from heat wave exposure.

Hospital admissions for people with mental illness are increasing due to extreme heat, increased ambient temperatures and humidity.

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Mortality rates are also increased among patients with psychiatric disorders among emergency room diagnoses of heat-related pathology.

People who are isolated and struggle to care for themselves – often a characteristic of the elderly or those with mental illness – also face a higher risk of heat-related illness and death.

Not only does this put people at greater risk of heat-related illness and death, but it can also lead to reduced mental health and, in some cases, increased aggression and violence.

Rising temperatures and poor air quality have limited people’s outdoor activities. For many people, a reduction in outdoor exercise and stress-reducing activities can lead to reduced physical health, increased stress and poor mental health.

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There may be a link between extreme heat (climate change-related or other causes) and increases in violence, aggressive motivation and/or aggressive behaviour.

These effects can include increased aggression, which can lead to increases in interpersonal violence and violent crime, with negative consequences for the mental health and well-being of individuals and society.

Given projections of rising temperatures (see Chapter 2: Temperature-related deaths and diseases), human conflict is likely to increase, but the cause-and-effect relationships between climate change and conflict are complex and

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