#272 – Climate Change & Mental Health

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Based on research by Waite, Thomas D., Chaintarli, Katerina, Beck, Charles R., Bone, Angie, Amlot, Richard, Kovats, Sari, Reacher, Mark, Armstrong, Ben, Leonardi, Giovanni, Rubin, James G., Oliver, Isabel (2017) written Bethany Wellman, M.S.

Hurricane season is here! You may have supplies and an emergency plan but are you mentally preparing for the stress? With the impact of climate change, natural disasters are on the rise. Mental health implications are legitimate concerns.  

A year after widespread flooding in England, researchers surveyed over 2000 people who lived in flooded areas to gauge the impact climate disasters have on mental health functioning. Of those disrupted by flooding, who lost communication or evacuated their home, 10% reported depression, 11% anxiety, and 15% PTSD. But those whose homes flooded, had double the impact on their depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Disruption of social and health care access increased risk. Both groups reported significantly more problems than those not impacted by the flood. Those not impacted had similar problem rates as previous population surveys taken during years with no prior disasters

This study supported the need to prioritize mental health when aiding victims of natural disasters. The more damage received, the more likely a mental health problem occurs. Communities, prepare for hurricanes AND educate the public about coping strategies. Providing disaster mental health care leads to better community recovery.

 

Reference:

Waite, T. D., Chaintarli, K., Beck, C. R., Bone, A., Amlot, R., Kovats, S., & Reacher, M. (2017). The English national cohort study of flooding and health: cross-sectional analysis of mental health outcomes at year one. BMC Public Health17(129). doi:10.1186/s12889-016-4000-2

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