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Mental Health Impacts 

Mental Health Impacts
Chapter:
Mental Health Impacts
Author(s):

Thomas J. Doherty

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190202453.003.0010
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date: 02 December 2020

This chapter describes three types of mental health impacts of climate change: (a) direct impacts of disasters, extreme weather events, and a changed environment; (b) indirect vicarious impacts, based on observation of global events and concern about future risks; and (c) indirect psychosocial impacts at the community and regional levels. By increasing the frequency, severity, and duration of extreme weather events, climate change directly affects mental health by inflicting more and worse natural disasters on human settlements. The likelihood of serious anxiety-related responses is increased, as is the prevalence of later chronic and severe psychological problems. Extreme weather events increase the risk of injuries and other physical health problems, which are also related to mental health, and endanger the natural and social environments on which people depend for their livelihoods, health, and well-being. Public health professionals can assist communities in addressing and preventing the mental health impacts of climate change. This chapter also contains a textbox on storm disasters: acute impacts and response.

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