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What Factors Influence Mental Health

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What Factors Influence Mental Health – , which often appear at the same time [Very High Confidence]. Most affected people recover over time, although a significant proportion of exposed individuals develop

Related disasters. These groups include children, the elderly, women (especially pregnant and postpartum women), people with pre-existing mental illnesses, economically disadvantaged people, the homeless and first responders [High Confidence]. Communities that depend on the natural environment for their sustenance and subsistence, as well as populations that live in areas more susceptible to specific diseases

What Factors Influence Mental Health

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

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

And well-being are essential to global climate-related impacts on human health. The consequences of climate change for mental health range from minimal stress and symptoms of distress to clinical disorders such as

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 consequences.

, especially natural disasters, are frequent and constitute a significant part of the global health impact. These consequences of climate change-related impacts rarely occur in isolation, but often interact with other social and environmental stressors.

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

. Individuals and communities are affected both by direct experience of local events attributed to climate change and by

For example, public communication and media messages about climate change and its anticipated consequences can influence perceptions of physical and social risks and therefore affect mental health and well-being. The interactive and cumulative nature of the effects of climate change on health, mental health and well-being are critical factors in understanding the global consequences of climate change on human health.

Human beings have inherent capabilities to adapt to new information and experiences and to adopt new behaviors to cope with change. There are also a number of interventions and treatments that mental health professionals use to treat mental illness and stress responses. These interventions occur in the context of health systems that have limited resources to provide these services. These considerations are not discussed in detail, as this chapter focuses on the state of the science regarding the effects of climate change on mental health and well-being, rather than on potential actions that could be taken in response to the related impacts and risks. . to climate change.

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

And behavioral choices. Key factors that influence health outcomes and vulnerability on a broader community or societal scale, such as the natural and built environment, governance and management, and institutions, are presented in the left margin. All these influencing factors can also be influenced by

, mental health and well-being. The following figure illustrates how the impacts of climate change create cascading and interconnected effects on mental, physical and community health. These impacts include exposure to higher temperatures and extreme

Events, as well as the transmission of vector-borne diseases, the degradation of air and water quality, and the reduction of food safety and security.

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In the center of the diagram are human figures representing adults, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The left circle represents

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

In the United States, the impact of extreme weather on mental health has been studied primarily in response to hurricanes and floods.

While many studies discuss the mental health impacts of specific historical events, they are indicative of the types of mental health problems that may emerge as climate change leads to further increases in the frequency, severity, or duration of some types of extreme weather. (see chapter 1: Introduction and chapter 4: Extreme events). The mental health impact of these events, such as hurricanes, floods and droughts, is expected to increase as more people experience the stress – and often trauma – of these disasters.

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

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

An elderly couple walks to the Superdome days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. New Orleans, Louisiana, September 1, 2005 © Michael Ainsworth Dallas Morning News/Corbis

Life-threatening events, such as highly destructive hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, are associated with

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In the aftermath of hurricanes, rising levels of PTSD are felt by people who perceive members of their community to be less supportive or helpful to one another.

Depression and general anxiety are also common consequences of extreme events (such as hurricanes and floods) that involve loss of life, resources, or social support and networks, or events that involve extensive displacement and life disruption.

For example, long-term anxiety and depression, 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 pre-existing alcohol use disorders are more vulnerable to increased alcohol use following extreme weather events.

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Of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. An increase in both suicidal ideation (from 2.8% to 6.4%) and actual suicide plans (from 1.0% to 2.5%) was observed among residents 18 months after Hurricane Katrina.

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a study of internally displaced women living in temporary housing found that reported suicide attempt and completion rates were 78.6 times and 14.7 times, respectively, the regional average.

In the six months following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the rate of homicides and suicides doubled to two per month in Miami-Dade County, where the hurricane struck, compared with an average of one per month during the five-year period. previous years, which do not include hurricane activity from the same period.

Climate or meteorological disasters can overwhelm the resources available to provide adequate mental (or even immediate physical) health care, due to the increase in the number of people suffering from severe stress and mental health responses. Communities negatively affected by these events also have reduced interpersonal and social networks available to support mental health and recovery needs due to the destruction and disruption caused by the event.

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Many regions of the United States have experienced droughts (see Chapter 1: Introduction and Chapter 4: Extreme Events).

Long-term drought interacts over time with multiple environmental and social stressors to disrupt the lives, livelihoods and functioning of individuals, families and communities.

Prolonged drought can have visible and long-term impacts on the landscape, rural agricultural industries and communities, and the individual and community

Cascading and interacting economic, social and everyday circumstances accompanied prolonged drought in rural areas. Drought-related anxiety and psychological distress have increased in Australian regions declared dry, especially for those experiencing loss of livelihoods and industry.

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People in cities may experience greater exposure to heat-related health effects during heat waves (see Chapter 2: Heat-related deaths and illnesses). The impact of extreme heat on mental health is associated with increased rates of illness and death, aggressive behavior, violence and suicide, and increased hospital and emergency room admissions for people with mental health problems or

People with mental illnesses are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat or heat waves. In six case-control studies involving 1,065

Associated deaths, existing mental illnesses have been found to triple the risk of death from exposure to heatwaves.

Hospital admissions have been shown to increase for people with mental illness as a result of extreme heat, increased ambient temperature and humidity.

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Increased mortality was also observed in people with mental illness among cases admitted to the emergency department diagnosed with heat-related pathology.

People who are isolated and have difficulty caring for themselves — often characteristic of the elderly or people with mental illnesses — are also at greater risk of heat-related illness and death.

They put people at greater risk not only of heat-related illness and death, but also of deteriorating mental health and, in some cases, increased aggression and violence.

Higher temperatures and poorer air quality limit people’s outdoor activities. For many, reduced outdoor exercise and stress-reducing activities lead to poor physical health, increased stress, and mental health problems.

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There may be a link between extreme heat (climate change-related or not) and increased violence, aggressive motives and/or aggressive behavior.

These impacts can include increased aggression, which can lead to increased interpersonal violence and violent crime, negatively impacting the mental health and well-being of the individual and society.

Given projections of rising temperatures (see Chapter 2: Temperature-related deaths and illnesses), there is potential for increased human conflict, but the causal links between climate change and conflict are complex and

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