Climate change and mental health: How to mitigate the risks ?

  • Researchers have explored the relationship between climate change and mental health in a major literature review.
  • The authors found a significant amount of research demonstrating how climate change poses risks to mental health.
  • However, they conclude that more research is needed to explore how to mitigate these risks.

A major review of the literature highlights the links researchers have found between climate change and mental health.
The review, which appears in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, shows that climate change is a serious risk to people’s mental health.

However, most of the research on this topic has focused on understanding the importance of these risks, but not on their mitigation.

The authors call for continued investigation into this growing field, with particular emphasis on protecting people’s mental health from the threats posed by climate change.

Climate Change and Health

Researchers have argued that human-influenced climate change poses an existential threat to civilization, with many associated ecological, social, political, economic and health risks. However, there have been fewer investigations into the effects of climate change on mental health. Speaking to Medical News Today,

Prof. Tahseen Jafry, director of the Center for Climate Justice at the Caledonian University of Glasgow in Scotland, said this lack of research particularly affects the experience of people in low-income countries.“Globally, very little research examines the effects of climate change on mental health, especially in the poorest countries. “The lack of qualitative data concerning the realities on the ground and the lived experiences, in particular by the poorest countries of the world, makes it one of the most prolific and least understood fields of study”, declared prof. Jafry.

The research priorities that the WHO identified are:

  • assessing the risks
  • identifying the most effective interventions
  • guiding health-promoting mitigation and adaptation decisions in other sectors
  • improving decision support
  • estimating the costs of protecting health from climate change

In their scoping review, the authors identified 120 articles published between 2001 and 2020 that related to climate change and mental health.

In their discussion of the findings, Dr. Fiona Charlson and her co-authors say that “[t]he literature consistently points to the negative associations that climate change-related events have with individuals’ and communities’ mental health.”

Dr Charlson, associate professor at the Queensland Center of Mental Health Research and the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland, Australia, told MNT: ‘This review was really needed to look at what we know about the impacts of climate on mental health change, which is expected to become important in the decades to come. “There is still a lot we don’t know about the impacts of climate change on mental health.

Research must accelerate and broaden the scope to discover solutions and approaches to protect our mental health in the face of climate change, ”said Dr. Charlson. . In their study, Dr Charlson and colleagues point out that while research in this area is on the increase, it focuses primarily on risks to people’s mental health and well-being. Dr Charlson and colleagues argue that research focused on mitigating these risks is also needed.

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