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Common Mental Health Disorders Start Before Age 14

Common Mental Health Disorders Start Before Age 14

No matter where we live, weather touches each of us daily and the warming effects of climate change go beyond the physical environment. Over the course of years, every one degree increase in temperature leads to a 2% increase in mental health related issues.

Worldwide, it is estimated that one in five adolescents experience mental health challenges, though most remain under-diagnosed and untreated.

For the study, Obradovich and his colleagues combined data from the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, which includes self-reported personal mental health data on almost two million randomly sampled US residents, with daily meteorological data from 2002 through 2012. Meanwhile, months with an increase of precipitation can increase the probability of mental health issues by 2 percent.

Poor mental health rises with global warming, researchers find. "Warming over time associates with worsened mental health over time", Obradovich told CNN.

It also recommended investing in mental health resilience-building through parents and teachers; and psycho-social provision in schools and community spaces, especially in hardship contexts such as conflict and natural disaster settings.

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Study co-author Nick Obradovich, MIT Media Lab research scientist has explained that climate change can affect suicide rates and also have an effect on human moods.

On the heels of a United Nations report that warned we have until 2030 to stop climate change from raising temperatures above a key threshold, another study found that the increasing heat could also lead to a decline to mental health.

In fact, the research reports that short-term exposure to more extreme weather - like getting increasingly hotter over time - and tropical cyclone exposure can be associated with a decline in mental health. However, "there are many other place-specific factors that may moderate the effect". The odds of reporting mental health problems were 2 percentage points higher in extremely rainy months with more than 25 days of precipitation than they were in months with no precipitation at all.

Some people were more vulnerable than others, the researchers found.

Mental health problems of people affected by the hurricane Katrina were compared with those who were unaffected. He says that before their study, there was no particular discussion of the impact of climate changes on the mental health. Obradovich, who noted that some people near the coast may be feeling anxiety about the possibility of hurricane damage to their homes, agreed: "There could be additional effects of worry about climate change that we're not able to capture in this study".

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