Climate change has an unexpected impact on mental health

By Sarah Sloat

Global climate change is projected to change our planet this century and beyond. We’re already seeing the effects—temperatures are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, hurricanes are more intense, and droughts are more extreme. These alterations will holistically change the ways we live our lives, both externally and internally. Our mental health, research released in October points out, is already at risk.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists presented empirical evidence that the effects of climate change undermine mental health. After evaluating data collected on 2 million randomly sampled Americans, they determined that experience with hotter temperatures and added precipitation is directly linked to poorer mental health. The more exposed people are to these elements, the worse it becomes—a crucial factor because climate change-driven events are only likely to become more frequent and intense in coming years.

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