Mental health worsens amid climate change, says WHO
The World Health Organization warns that mental health is declining as climate change worsens.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a policy report to address the lasting impact of climate change that is only getting worse over time. The agency suggested that the extreme temperature fluctuation affects people’s mental health and psychosocial well-being, increasing levels of emotional distress, stress, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, among other things. health problems.
Dr. Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at WHO, said: “The impacts of climate change are more and more part of our daily life, and there are very Little support dedicated to mental health available for people and communities faced with climate and long -term risks.
In addition to the influence of climate change on mental health, the WHO has warned of new emerging syndromes directly related such as “eco-trauma”, which is an anxiety that develops in the face of the “doomsday scenario expected to result from the transformation of ecosystems by human activity”. “, explained the organization.
The WHO has published its biggest mental health review in the world for years after the publication of its new political relationship. This review serves as a set of guidelines for governments, academics, practitioners and health personnel, as well as the public, offering advice for dealing with existing and emerging mental health issues.
The document suggests that “almost a billion people, including 14% of adolescents worldwide, lived with a mental health disorder in 2019” and that suicide “represented more than one death in 100, and 58% cases have occurred before the age of 50”. .”
Mental health disorders are the main cause of disability in the world, and people with serious but avoidable diseases die “on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population”, according to the agency.
“The impact of climate change aggravates the situation already extremely difficult for mental health and mental health services in the world. Almost a billion people live with mental health problems, but in low- and middle-income countries, 3 out of 4 do not have access to the necessary services,” said Dévora Kestel, director of the department of mental health. and substance abuse at WHO. “By strengthening mental health and psychosocial support in the reduction of disaster risk and climate action, countries can do more to help protect the most risky people.”
The COVID-19 crisis has also had a significant impact on mental health in recent years, particularly among children and adolescents, their caregivers and the elderly.
“I’m not sure it’s correct to call a collection of mental health issues a pandemic, but the reality is that many countries are largely ignoring or forgetting about this crisis,” said Sarah Sheppard, communications manager at WHO. “Stigma and lack of understanding are major drivers of these issues and have been one of the reasons for the lack of funding for mental health for decades. Mental health receives less than 1% of international health aid.
On the other hand, the measures proposed by the latest report on mental health and climate change, including the choice to move on to low -emission transport and to be more physically active.
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