Updated: Sep 16, 2020
- KOMAL KURMI
Climate changes like our mood swings; it is sudden but throws a drastic impact on our mental health. Climate change is the global phenomenon of climate that changes the usual climate of the planet regarding temperature, precipitation, and wind that are especially caused by human activities. It is well understood that human health is threatened by the impact of climate change. Climate change affects mental health directly by exposing people to trauma and may affect indirectly by affecting the physical health and community wellbeing. Approximately, many ‘natural’ and ‘anthropogenic’ factors contribute to climate change.
Climate change is one of the great challenges we are facing in our times. Climate changes due to human deeds and due to their insensible activities, nature, or the environment have to suffer along with the humans. Sudden climatic transformations turn the earth with numerous disasters like long-term periods of drought where we could not get a drop of water, which desiccated the lands and on the other hand, flood where everything is submerged. Other than that, it signifies that due to this transformation of climate temperature will continues to rise which causes global warming in its peak. We can also see some extreme changes such as the lengthening of frost-free season, changes in precipitation pattern and heatwaves, rising in sea level, the hurricanes will become more stronger and intense, etc. Even it is indicated that the Arctic Ocean is expected to become ice-free.
Different aspects of climate change may affect mental health through direct and indirect pathways, which leads to serious mental health problems. The WHO estimates an increase of 250,000 excess deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to the well-understood impact of climate change. Impact includes heat-related morbidity and mortality; an increase in vector prone diseases such as dengue, malaria; an increase in respiratory illness, and the lesser-known and often overlooked effects of climate change include the high risk of mental health. Perhaps, it is worth underlining that in some papers the connection between climate change and mental health disorders was described through the introduction of new terms coined recently – eco-anxiety, eco-guilt, eco-psychology, ecological grief, etc.
Heatwaves are associated with a psychological and behavioral disorder. It includes dispositions aggression; rile behavior, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and others. These impacts lead to cases of suicides and psychological illness. The farmers are somewhere the most affected people whose agricultural work depends on the climate. Due to flood or desiccated lands, the agriculture hampered, as a result, the production diminishes which leads to deterioration of the economic condition. It has been observed that drought-prone areas are vulnerable to socioeconomic status and a higher level of stress and distresses which has been associated with depression and demoralization. A decrement in social capital can lead to a reduction in wellbeing and may increase mental health problems. In such an unstable situation, women are the common fatalities who suffer more than men do especially when they have to migrate from a different place for employment or proper treatments. The loss of home, supplements, social structure, environment, and loved ones made them go through some serious mental issues. It is also denoted that the rural people were highly affected or dealing with depression than that of the people living in big cities. As the impact of climate change, we can see that a greater proportion of the population is exaggerated by mental illness.
Mental health is closely related to physical wellbeing. Poor physical health leads to poor quality of lifestyle and mental instability or distress. Often we do not consider this psychological disorder, which further gets unmanageable. Mental instability, which consists of anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, requires proper counseling and are helped with psychiatrist therapies. These natural disasters are associated with cardiovascular disorder, gastrointestinal disorder, respiratory disorder, and renal problems. Environmental determinates such as dust, smoke, pollen, stagnant water are likely to adversely affect human health and lead to chronic physical disease. Malnutrition is a common disorder among children from drought-prone areas where there is a lack of food supplements. Nutrition deficiencies are likely to be associated with physical illness.
The climate has an impact on a large part of the population, in different geographical areas and with different types of threats to public threats. Developing countries like India have also developed and articulated their policies toward challenging the impact of climate change. The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) documents the Indian government's plan to deal with the issue of climate change. We can manage this drastic condition of people by providing better mental health facilities, adequate food supplies, shelters, and employment. Creating co-operative and protection from farmers from loan swindler that can reduce suicides due to crop failure.
Climate change is a global challenge that has no boards and combats it requires coordinated work by all countries. Circumstances that lead to such drastic and rapid impacts of climate transformation need to stop and should not be overlooked. This climate change is the current rapid warming of the earth's climate caused by human activities. If left unchecked it poses a severe threat to human civilization and the ecosystem on this planet.