Climate and Mental Health

ARTICLES | Feb 10, 2023
Climate and Mental Health

Writer: Nuttawut Kulkaew

Editor: Wittaya Wonglor


Climate crisis is bringing challenges in every aspect of life and mental health. Research in 2019 suggests that people in regions affected by climate change are more likely to have mental health problems. Each 1 degree Celsius rise in global temperature brings a 2.2% increase in the risk of death due to mental health problems. A 3-year follow-up report on the psychological impact after the Great Flood in Thailand in 2011 found that 10% of the victims had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.


Research has shown that air temperature and humidity affect mood in people with psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, as well as those with aggressive or suicidal thoughts. The climate crisis will cause an estimated 5% rise in crime worldwide by 2090.


The perceived severity of climate change can also lead to feelings of stress, powerlessness, chronic anxiety. Climate anxiety over lost happiness is known as solastalgia, including feelings of hopelessness. Nowadays, 84% of young people globally have clearly expressed concern about climate change, with more than 45% having experienced being ignored by family members when trying to bring up environmental issues.



Implications for the future:

- With the increasing severity of natural disasters every year, relevant agencies need a disaster mitigation plan to provide not only physical shelter for the victims but also mental health care services for them.

- Mental health organizations will play a role in advocating for climate change.

- If mental health problems related to the environment are more severe, mental health issues resulting from climate impact may be called for a part in the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

- There will be an increasing number of psychiatric patients along with the increasing severity of the climate crisis in society.




- Global priorities for climate change and mental health research

- Spending time around ‘blue spaces’ may result in better mental health in adulthood

- Heatwaves worsen mental health conditions

- Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey

- Crime, weather, and climate change



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