The Effects of Climate Change On Mental Health
Extreme weather conditions and even slower passing events like droughts have left behind significant effects on people and studies have proven that events related to climate change can affect both the physical and mental health of people. The consequences of mental health which are linked to the changing global climate include mild stress and distress, coping behavior with alcohol abuse and in many cases mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. An example of this phenomenon was observed immediately after the hurricane in Puerto Rico when children were displaying signs of different mental health problems.
The impact of climate change can also lead to job loss and force people to move which was another thing that was noticed in Puerto Rico when people affected had to deal with the loss of social support and community resources. Additionally, stress also becomes a problem when people begin to anticipate extreme weather and develop concerns about the phenomenon of climate change. Therefore it cannot be denied that the effects of climate change can have a devastating effect on mental health.
How Climate Change-Related Disasters Affect Mental Health?
Research has indicated that severe weather events such as hurricanes, flooding, droughts along with heat waves are going to increase in frequency and intensity when climate change becomes even more pronounced. Experiencing the disasters caused by climate change can cause plenty of stress and distress among individuals and also bring serious mental health issues which can be concerning.
How Does Climate Change Impact Physical, Mental And Community Health?
People will begin to experience the following problems when they are forced to cope with changes in the climate. The experiences are related to the following:
Medical And Physical Health
- Changes in activity levels
- Illnesses related to the risen/drooped temperatures
- Exposure to waterborne and vector-borne illnesses.
- Depression, anxiety, stress, grief and sense of loss
- Social relationships becoming strained
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- An increase in interpersonal aggression
- An increase in violence, crime and social instability
- A reduction in community cohesion
What Actions Can People Take To Deal with Disasters Related To Climate Change
People need to be prepared for individual actions along with resilience when they anticipate disasters related to climate change. The individual actions may include preparing and practicing emergency plans for the household, caring for themselves via healthy habits, developing connections with family, friends, neighbors and other people to build strong social networks and participating in the efforts of policy and advocacy for combating the problem of climate change.
What Is The Public Perception Of Climate Change Among People?
There is a definite connection between climate change and health regardless of whether it is mental, physical or community and this is a fact which is well understood by most Americans. Polls conducted in the spring of 2017 reveal that nearly 63% of Americans believe climate change is having an impact on their health.
The natural disasters in Puerto Rico, Houston and the Caribbean may only have lent credence to the feelings of people that climate change was indeed having a forceful impact on their lives. Many people were left homeless and without any of their belongings after the disasters struck causing huge losses. Federal aid agencies are coping with demands for relief from the affected even as a number of people are forced to relocate to different locations.
Americans and people throughout the world no longer have an opportunity to ignore the kind of effects which can be left behind by climate change. The moment has arrived for people to realize they have to be prepared either to deal with the challenges or to suffer silently if they do not act proactively.
Climate change cannot be considered as a passing phenomenon which only has the potential to create some short-term damages. Apart from the physical, mental and community health problems, people will also have to deal with losses to their property and their overall wealth.
People no longer have the option of changing the climate but they certainly can incorporate the changes suggested which could perhaps make it possible for them to be prepared for the next disaster and minimize their losses which could come in any form.
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