Climate Change: Rising Humidity Could Be Linked To Suicide Uptick, Finds Report

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The Logical Indian Crew

Climate Change: Rising Humidity Could Be Linked To Suicide Uptick, Finds Report

Intense bouts of humidity may exacerbate mental health conditions, a new study finds highlighting the growing climate crisis’s dire effects on mental health.

As the paper in Frontiers reported, experts hypothesize that rising temperatures, heatwaves, natural calamities, humidity, forest loss, river absence, and desertification can all disrupt physical and mental health. However, there have been very few studies that look into the relationship between climate change and mental health.

The research published in Nature Scientific Reports looked at data from 60 countries spanning over 37 years. The study was the first of its kind to be conducted on a global scale rather than on a country basis, according to the researcher. According to the study, more frequent spells of severe humidity caused by the climate crisis are more likely to be connected to rising suicide rates than heatwaves.

"Humidity is more dangerous than dry heat alone because it impairs sweating — the body's life-saving natural cooling system," Down to Earth wrote. This has become more concerning as the frequency and intensity of humidity are on a steady rise pertaining to global warming.

The statistical evidence linked to the climate crisis and mental health is more apparent now than ever before. This poses a threat to the World Health Organization's which aims to reduce suicide rates by a third by 2030. Worldwide, currently, more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year.

Countries Most Affected

Study notes, twenty-eight countries showed a strong link between the rate of suicides and humidity. Guyana in South America and Thailand in Asia are among these countries. In the continent of Africa, humidity led to suicidal tendencies in Egypt and South Africa. European countries that were less used to higher heat and humidity, including Sweden, Belgium, and Luxemburg, showed a significant link between the two.

"It's the shock of going from colder temperatures to extreme temperatures that is dangerous to mental health," co-author of the research, Dr. Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson of the University of Sussex and the United Nations University's Institute for Environment and Human Security, told The Guardian.

The Disproportionate Burden On Women And Children

Women are affected more than men, and people aged 5 to 14 years and 15 to 24 years are most susceptible out of all age groups. The disproportionate burden between men and women might be as much cultural as physiological. It might be a fallout of men being reluctant to seek mental health care which reduces their diagnosis rate. Women's diagnosis rates can also be undercalculated if they are dismissed as illogical or hysterical rather than receiving necessary mental health care. Other differences exist because temperature responses of men's and women's bodies differ.

The mental health consequences of the climate issue are significant. Conflict avoidance, anxiety, helplessness, and resignation are among psychological responses that obstruct collective action to reduce further global warming to establish resilience and adaptation strategies. By ignoring the implications of rising environmental anxiety, we risk aggravating health and social inequities between those who are more and less prone to these psychological repercussions. The socioeconomic costs of tackling the climate crisis will be substantial, although they are currently unknown and unquantified.

Also Read: Cricket Icon Sachin Tendulkar Takes Responsibility Of Educating Tribal Children In Madhya Pradesh Village

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