What does medical research tell us about mental-health issues arising from the ongoing bad climate-change news?

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One thing is certain it will certainly not make you happier. You only have to visit one of your social media platforms and you see people fling each other or climate change is real or another story to knock people more money out of their pocket. All in all, the world and our mood are certainly not getting any better thats for sure.

The World Health Organisation has predicted some 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change. And the UN has predicted that the average 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature by the end of the century means sea levels would rise enough to drown coastal cities, and crop yields would decline precipitously.

Direct traumatic experiences such as losing a home to a hurricane have mental-health consequences. After Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast in 2005, suicide and suicidal ideation among residents of areas affected by the disaster more than doubled, while one in six met the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rates of depression also doubled in New Orleans, with a disproportionate impact on the mental health of those with the lowest incomes. Elevated PTSD levels have also been found among people who live through wildfires and severe storms.

Less acute exposure can have still some effect. In 2017, the American Psychological Association validated “ecoanxiety” as a legitimate affliction. “Some of the most resounding chronic psychological consequences” of climate change will stem from slower-moving disasters, like the “unrelenting day-by-day despair” of a prolonged drought, the APA said. “Gradual, long-term changes in climate can also surface a number of different emotions, including fear, anger, feelings of powerlessness, or exhaustion.”

Dr Muiris Houston: ‘Direct traumatic experiences such as losing a home to a hurricane have mental-health consequences.’ Aasleagh Falls on the Mayo/Galway border. While on holiday in Western Canada last month I had what you might call my first personal brush with climate change. A day after we left […]

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