Study finds climate -- mental health link

Researchers predict 40,000 more suicides as temperatures rise.

August 11, 2018

In the midst of the wildfire conflagration in California it is easy to see the increasing number of natural disasters and the accompanying deaths and injuries caused by those events as one possible result of climate change. Improved mitigation methods are often seen as ways to reduce the injuries and property damage caused by these disasters.

A new study, challenges the singular focus on mitigation efforts to help North American communities cope with rising temperatures. The research suggests a tragic mental health connection that has been overlooked.

Researchers who compared decades of temperatures in the United States and Mexico were surprised to find a direct correlation between the number of suicides and the increase in average temperatures.

Published last month in Nature Climate Change the study suggests that mental health deteriorates as the temperatures rise. The research suggests the suicide rates rise by nearly 1 percent in the U.S. and more than 2 percent in Mexico for every degree the average monthly temperature rises.

If the temperatures continue an unmitigated rise, the research suggests as many as 40,000 more suicides may occur in the next 30 years.

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