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Climate change can pose serious threat to humans’ mental health: WHO report

Post by on Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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Srinagar, July 19: Climate change can pose a serious threat to your mental wellbeing, claims a new report by World Health Organization (WHO).
 A report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed that rapidly increasing climate change poses a rising threat to mental health and psychosocial well-being, from emotional distress to anxiety, depression, grief, and suicidal behavior.
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in weather conditions, which may give rise to many mental health-related problems. It can affect our mental health both directly and indirectly.
Commenting on the research, Kashmir-based Psychiatrists told Rising Kashmir that the environment always has an impact on mental health.
They said that the effects of climate change on humans, however, go beyond physical health.
Dr Yasir Hassan, Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at IMHANS, told Rising Kashmir that scientifically it has been proved that climate change affects an individual's mental health.
He said that according to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare guidelines, climate change's direct mental health consequences range from mild stress and sleep disturbances to mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, substance use and many others.
“Indirect mental health consequences of climate change can occur as a result of damage to the physical health, food and water shortage, conflict, and displacement due to intense climatic changes,” reads the MoHFW guidelines.
Dr Zaid Wani, another Professor at IMHANS echoed the same views. "Even driving half an hour in a traffic is stressful. Not to mention of the dust pollution which is on the roads. The cumulative effects of all these can be sleep deprivation. Exposure to toxins which affect our brain and body giving over time rise to anxiety and depressive features,” he said.
He said that environmental stressors like noises are known to increase cortisol levels which is a stress-related hormone. “Excess of which is detrimental to our health,” he said.
According to experts, heat waves have been associated with mood disorders and anxiety. 
“Additionally, extreme heat events and humidity have been noted to increase hospital admissions for mood and behavioural disorders, including schizophrenia, mania and other psychological and neurological disorders,” they said.

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