Events and challenging situations of all kinds are apt to contribute to global levels of stress and uneasiness, but there are some world issues that can have a greater effect on mental health than others. Climate change, in particular, may be responsible for seriously influencing the lives of those with pre-existing mental health concerns, suggests a study published online in the journal Psychological Medicine. The research, which was sponsored by King’s College London and proposes the need for in-depth discussion of potential mental health complications at next week’s climate change conference in Copenhagen, conducted reviews of the mental health consequences of natural disasters, and discussed the ability of rising temperatures to create various concerns for mental health clients.
The study linked climate change to the occurrence of natural disasters, which are often responsible for traumatic life events capable of causing and exacerbating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. Noting that those who are already affected by such a concern are likely to experience significant distress in the event of natural disasters, the research points to the need for greater care access and scope in the anticipation of future climate change-related global events. The study also suggested that because many mental health clients struggle with physical health symptoms as well, they may be more susceptible to rising temperatures, causing a greater demand for health care professionals in nearly every field.
The potential for climate change to effect global mental health in terms of both clients and services may not be the focal point of the upcoming UN conference in Copenhagen, but the study provides support for those hoping it will be discussed with due attention and respect.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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