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February 23, 2022

Identifying and Preparing for the Mental Health Burden of Climate Change

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Humans and Machines, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany
  • 2Environmental Solutions Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • 3Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla
  • 4Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
JAMA Psychiatry. 2022;79(4):285-286. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.4280

Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to human health.1 Among the myriad likely human impacts of climate change, the potential for environmental stressors to undermine global mental health and emotional well-being is one of the most considerable. Relative to other topics, however, it is also one of the impacts that thus far has been understudied.1

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1 Comment for this article
Climate change and mental health
Daniel Krell, M.D. | Retired PCP
Yes, temperature and weather extremes will present challenges to the mental health of many. Not referenced in the editorial are the economic catastrophies that people will experience because of drought, flooding, and damage caused by extreme weather. Such catastrophies will affect regions of the country, and large populations, as well as individuals and families. Climate change migration will also be a source of unprecedented needs for mental health support. Low and middle-income populations, with few or no resources to support moving, higher housing costs, the stresses of migration, experiencing lower (or no) resale value of their homes in flooding coastal areas or regions devastated by drought, will suffer the most. As climate change inevitably progresses, mental health issues will likely take on the character of a pandemic.