Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse are all mental health crises that tend to arise after a natural disaster. And, as climate change is more present, these problems increase.
Climate change and mental health
“During disasters there have been some increases in suicide attempts in affected communities,” says Ashlee Cunsolo, a health geographer.
All this phenomenon is known as ecological punishment: the mourning of ecosystems and forms of life that are disappearing as the planet warms.
So as sea levels rise, storms are more intense and temperatures are higher, the international mental health crisis will also do so.
A study published in Nature Climate Change compiled statistics on temperatures and suicides at the county level in the United States, and at the municipal level in Mexico. The increase in monthly suicide rates is 0.7% and 2% respectively.
These rates fluctuate around the world, and where they are highest, the temperature is not necessarily the highest. But the impact on public health could be devastating.
Although, as might be expected, it was not people living in rural areas, but those living in cities, who described a general sense of despair and anxiety.
Although the root of the problem may be the same, the manifestations of climate change can be very different.
"Each region, each place, each culture will experience something very, very different," Cunsolo says.