Climate change doesn’t just affect people’s physical health by exacerbating problems like asthma — it can also cause mental health issues like anxiety and depression, according to a new report.
Researchers behind the report from the American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica say the mental health impacts come both immediately following extreme weather events tied to climate change and gradually as temperatures and sea levels rise over the course of years and decades. Trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression all rank among the ailments linked to climate change, according to the report, which examines data from dozens of previous studies.
“When you think about climate change, mental health might not be the first thing that comes to mind,” write Howard S. Kurtzman of the American Psychological Association and Bob Perkowitz of ecoAmerica in a letter accompanying the report. But “the tolls on our mental health are far reaching.”