Climate Change and Health, including Mental Health

The U.S. Global Change Research Program released its landmark synthesis report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment   in April 2016.   Chapter 8,”Mental Health and Well-being”,  states  that mental health risks can be caused by climate-related or weather-related disasters, as well as ongoing anxiety over climate change. Extreme heat exacerbates physical and mental problems.  Groups at highest risk are “children, the elderly, women (especially pregnant and post-partum women), people with pre-existing mental illness, the economically disadvantaged, the homeless, and first responders.” Communities  that rely on the natural environment for sustenance and livelihood or with direct exposure to climate change are also at high risk. For follow-up reading, consult the 13- page list of references at the end of the chapter. For an overview of the entire report, see Fact Sheet: What Climate Change Means to your Health and Family  .

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