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Climate Change and Mental Health: A Scoping Review

Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Queensland Health, Wacol, QLD 4076, Australia
School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science & Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC, San Diego, CA 92093, USA
Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Mental Health Programme, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, QLD 4076, Australia
Metro North Mental Health Service, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4486;
Received: 30 March 2021 / Revised: 16 April 2021 / Accepted: 20 April 2021 / Published: 23 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change)
Climate change is negatively impacting the mental health of populations. This scoping review aims to assess the available literature related to climate change and mental health across the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) five global research priorities for protecting human health from climate change. We conducted a scoping review to identify original research studies related to mental health and climate change using online academic databases. We assessed the quality of studies where appropriate assessment tools were available. We identified 120 original studies published between 2001 and 2020. Most studies were quantitative (n = 67), cross-sectional (n = 42), conducted in high-income countries (n = 87), and concerned with the first of the WHO global research priorities—assessing the mental health risks associated with climate change (n = 101). Several climate-related exposures, including heat, humidity, rainfall, drought, wildfires, and floods were associated with psychological distress, worsened mental health, and higher mortality among people with pre-existing mental health conditions, increased psychiatric hospitalisations, and heightened suicide rates. Few studies (n = 19) addressed the other four global research priorities of protecting health from climate change (effective interventions (n = 8); mitigation and adaptation (n = 7); improving decision-support (n = 3); and cost estimations (n = 1)). While climate change and mental health represents a rapidly growing area of research, it needs to accelerate and broaden in scope to respond with evidence-based mitigation and adaptation strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: global health; climate; mental disorders; environmental health global health; climate; mental disorders; environmental health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Charlson, F.; Ali, S.; Benmarhnia, T.; Pearl, M.; Massazza, A.; Augustinavicius, J.; Scott, J.G. Climate Change and Mental Health: A Scoping Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4486.

AMA Style

Charlson F, Ali S, Benmarhnia T, Pearl M, Massazza A, Augustinavicius J, Scott JG. Climate Change and Mental Health: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(9):4486.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Charlson, Fiona, Suhailah Ali, Tarik Benmarhnia, Madeleine Pearl, Alessandro Massazza, Jura Augustinavicius, and James G. Scott. 2021. "Climate Change and Mental Health: A Scoping Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 9: 4486.

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