[permaculture] [Fwd: [perma-psychology] major mental health impacts of climate change expected]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at bellsouth.net
Thu Dec 3 23:51:43 EST 2009

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[perma-psychology] major mental health impacts of climate
change expected
Date: 	Thu, 3 Dec 2009 13:59:55 EST
From: 	LBUZZELL at aol.com
Reply-To: 	perma-psychology at googlegroups.com
To: 	chat_act_ecopsy at yahoogroups.com, perma-psychology at googlegroups.com,
etree at santabarbaratherapy.org

/"The knowledge of man-made climate change could in itself
have adverse effects on individual psychological well-being."
/ -------------------------------------------------------

King's College London
Public release date: 3-Dec-2009

Contact: Melanie Haberstroh
melanie.haberstroh at kcl.ac.uk <mailto:melanie.haberstroh at kcl.ac.uk>

*Major impacts of climate change expected on mental health

*Leading mental health researchers are warning that some of the most
important health consequences of climate change will be on mental health,
yet this issue is unlikely to be given much attention at the UN climate
change conference in Copenhagen next week.

Dr Lisa Page and Dr Louise Howard from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP)
at King's College London reviewed a range of recent research by scientists
into the potential mental health impacts of climate change.

In an article published in Psychological Medicine online, the two mental
health experts conclude that climate change has the potential to have
significant negative effects on global mental health. These effects will
be felt most by those with pre-existing serious mental illness, but that
there is also likely to be an increase in the overall burden of mental
disorder worldwide.

The scientists urge for the lack of research into the mechanisms that
cause the effects of climate change on mental disorder to be addressed, so
that mental health policy makers can plan for the significant impacts of
climate change on mental health that are to be expected.

Dr Page, lead author of the article and Clinical Lecturer in Liaison
Psychiatry at the IoP, comments: 'Climate change is assuming centre stage
with the upcoming UN conference in Copenhagen. While delegates will
discuss the effects of climate change and possible responses by the
international governments, we fear that the effects of climate change on
mental health will be largely ignored, posing a tremendous risk to the
mental health of millions of people in the not-too-distant future.'
Dr Page and Dr Howard identified the following ways in which climate
change is likely to impact mental health:

    * Natural disasters, such as floods, cyclones and droughts, are
predicted to increase as a consequence of climate change. Adverse
psychiatric outcomes are well documented in the aftermaths of natural
disasters and include post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and
somatoform disorders.

     * The needs of people with chronic mental illness have often been
overlooked following disaster in favour of trauma-focused psychological
interventions and yet the mentally ill occupy multiply vulnerabilities for
increased mortality and morbidity at such times.

    * As global temperatures increase, people with mental illness are
particularly vulnerable to heat-related death. Contributing risk factors
such as psychotropic medication, pre-existing respiratory and
cardiovascular disease and substance misuse, are all highly prevalent in
people with serious mental illness. In addition, maladaptive coping
mechanisms and poor quality housing are likely to further increase
vulnerability, and death by suicide may also increase above a certain
temperature threshold.
    * Adverse impacts such as psychological distress, anxiety and
traumatic stress resulting from emerging infectious disease outbreaks are
also likely to increase if the predicted outbreaks of serious infectious
diseases become reality.

    * Coastal change and increased flooding is expected to lead to forced
mass migration and displacement, which will undoubtedly lead to more
mental illness in affected population.

    * Urbanisation, a phenomenon which will be partially beneficial, for
example by increasing opportunities for work and better access to health
services, is associated with an increased incidence of schizophrenia in
developed countries. In many low- and middle-income countries, mental
health provision is already hugely inadequate and is unlikely to be
prioritised should further economic collapse occur secondary to climate

    * The knowledge of man-made climate change could in itself have
adverse effects on individual psychological well-being.


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