Abrupt Link Between Hotter Temperature and Suicidal Rates
Abrupt Link Between Hotter Temperature and Suicidal Rates
Global warming will increase suicides, researchers say
26 July, 2018, 18:56
Professor of Earth system science, Marshall Burke at the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, with associates from the Stanford University in California broke down public health data on over 850,000 suicides more than 36 years in the USA and over 611,000 suicides in 20 years in Mexico.
The study was published Monday in the Nature Climate Change, a peer-reviewed British journal. "Now we see that in addition to hurting others, some individuals hurt themselves. It appears that heat profoundly affects the human mind and how we decide to inflict harm", saidSolomon Hsiang, study co-author and associate professor at theUniversity of California, Berkeley.
The researchers concluded that temperature increases could lead to a 1.4 percent increase in suicides in the United States and a 2.3 percent increase in Mexico by 2050.
A new study from Stanford University is claiming that suicide rates will continue to rise as the Earth gets hotter.
"When talking about climate change, it's often easy to think in body_abstractions", Marshall Burke, the study's author said in a statement.
In addition, changing climate helps the carriers of unsafe diseases to spread into new territories.
The role of heat, the authors said, may be just as significant as other, more well-known drivers of suicide, like economic hardship, which also pushes rates up, and suicide prevention programs and gun control legislation, which tend to push rates down.
Globally, close to 800,000 people die by suicide each year, and 78% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
In the USA, suicides claim almost 45,000 lives a year, twice the number of homicides, and they are the 10th-leading cause of death. "So better understanding the causes of suicide is a public health priority", said Professor Burke.
In the study, the researchers looked at suicide rates throughout thousands of USA counties and Mexican municipalities.
Medication, prescription costs and the economy are key parts of the equation, said Daniel Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a non-profit organization.
Mental health experts caution other factors should be considered when studying suicide rates.
Abnormally high monthly average temperatures in the United States and Mexico were associated with a small increase in the number of suicides and the same slight decrease in psychological well-being.
"We find a very consistent relationship between temperature increases and increases in suicide risk", Burke said, adding that suicide is a "very complex phenomenon", and there are many other factors besides climate that can play into suicide risk. "But our findings suggest that warming can have a surprisingly large impact on suicide risk, and this matters for both our understanding of mental health as well as for what we should expect as temperatures continue to warm".
The past three years were the hottest on record, the United Nations' World Meteorological Organisation said in March.
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