The climate crisis threatens the planet, but also the mental health of individuals. The intensity of dampness episodes as well as the increase in their frequency are likely to be linked to an increase in suicides. This phenomenon is not unknown, since it has already been identified for heat waves. Corn a new study, carried out by a British research team from the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction at the University of College London, finds that damp episodes are even worse. This work is the first carried out internationally to show the impact of climate change on mental health.
Between 1979 and 2016, in nearly sixty countries, periods of intense humidity were more strongly correlated with rising suicide rates than when temperatures were high, the team reveals. According to Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, co-author of the study, humidity interferes with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. This increased discomfort could worsen the condition of people prone to mental illness. In addition, antidepressants are said to increase the body’s inability to regulate itself in the face of humidity.
In tropical countries, women and children are more concerned
The study highlights the places on the planet and the people most likely to be impacted by high humidity. Twenty-eight countries have a particularly strong link between the number of suicides and humidity. On the list are Thailand and Guyana, subject to tropical climates. European countries less affected by heat and humidity are also cited such as Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.
According to the co-author, “It’s the shock of going from colder temperatures to extreme temperatures that is dangerous for mental health”. The study found significant trends between increasing suicide rates among women and youth and increases in intense wet episodes. “It is known that women and children suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather phenomena due to social structures and power relations”, explains Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson.
Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.
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