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New report sheds light on 'hidden cost' of mental health issues caused by climate change

WION logo WION 26-05-2021 (Wion Web Team)
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The effects of climate change on the collective mental health of people around the world have not been recorded so far. But a recent study sheds light on how changes in climate affect the mental health of people, especially those directly affected by its disastrous consequences.

Scientists warn that climate change is wrecking the mental health of people around the world, while noting that its costs remain hidden.

In a new report, scientists attempted to understand how climate change is driving up mental health issues among people. The report posits that heatwaves are causing suicide rates to rise globally, while adding how loss of food security is causing depression among many. The young are especially affected by anxiety over what the future holds for planet Earth, the scientists said.

The study was led at Imperial College London by Emma Lawrance, who told The Guardian that “mental health is the unseen impact” of climate climate in current times. Over a billion people already face the disastrous consequences of mental health issues. The researchers believe the easiest way to take the burden off is by fixing climate change itself. 

Also read: UK will 'suck out' carbon dioxide from air to fight climate change

Providing a sense of wellbeing by collective efforts to limit the ill effects of climate change could hold the key to limiting mental health issues.

Climate change creates a disastrous impact on the environment causing adverse weather events leading to natural disasters. Most common disasters are heat waves, floods, droughts. Researchers believe such disasters put people at immense risk of PTSD, depression, anxiety along with the added risk of suicide.

But the risks don’t end here. Even if climate change is not directly affecting your surroundings, it still has a lasting impact on mental health of people owing to anxieties about the future. The report concludes by referring to the effects of climate change on mental health as “hidden costs”, implying that one’s mental well-being remained ignored in policy and planning.

Also read: Meet climate change's latest offering to Earth - 'Zombie wildfires'

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