New study shows ties between climate change and suicide risk – Health

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A new study has shown a possibility of climate change affecting a person’s mental health.

Published in the journal Natural Climate Change, the study suggests that when there are abnormally hot temperatures in a month, suicide rates also tend to be higher, compared to months that have normal average temperatures.

Although the study findings do not suggest temperature as the sole most important factor associated with suicide, lead author of the study and assistant professor at Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science Marshall Burke states that there is indeed a very consistent relationship between the two.

As reported by CNN, the study included data on suicide rates in the United States between 1984 and 2004, as well as monthly suicide rates in Mexico between 1990 and 2010. Researchers used a climate-mapping tool named PRISM to compare that data with temperature and precipitation data from the US.

They analyzed the data and they found that a 1-degree Celsius increase in average monthly temperature correlates with a 0.68 percent increase in suicide rates in the US and 2.1 percent in Mexico. 

Read also: Expect more heat waves due to climate change, experts warn

The study also shows an increase in expressing depression-related language through social media platform Twitter.

Burke mentions that these findings lead to the conclusion that humans have a physiological response to hot temperatures.

“Studies suggest that some components of brain chemistry, in particular certain neurotransmitters, are important in both mental health and in how the body regulates its internal temperature,” he says. “To us, a physiological explanation like this better fits our data because we find such a remarkably consistent relationship across all socioeconomic groups in the US.”

Other similar studies show the impacts of increasing temperature on mental well-being, such as the study of hospital admissions in Milwaukee, which found a relation between “intentional self-harm” and warmer temperatures. (anm/kes)





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