Violence and mental health likely to worsen in a warming world

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extreme weather has been the cause of some of the greatest public health crises In most cases around the world in recent years, they have been enhanced by human-induced climate change. For example, in 2003, high summer temperatures in Europe were believed to cause 50,000 to 70,000 deaths. extreme deaths in 16 European countries.

Globally, it is estimated to be in total. 296,000 Deaths over the past two decades have been associated with heat.

But heat doesn’t just affect physical health. can have equally serious effects on sanity conditions. Studies have shown that increasing temperatures are associated with an increase in temperature. suicides and violent behavioras well as worsening mood and anxiety disorders.

Studies England and Wales Studies conducted between 1993 and 2003 revealed that when temperatures are above 18°C, every 1°C increase in temperature is associated with a 3.8% increased risk of suicide in the general population.

Between 1996 and 2013 FinlandEvery 1°C increase in temperature corresponds to a 1.7% increase in violent crime nationwide. It is even predicted 1.2 million More attacks could occur in the United States between 2010 and 2099 than there would be without climate change.

The relationship between high temperatures and mental health is an active area of ​​research. scientists They found that increased heat has some health consequences, such as disturbed sleep and sleep levels. serotonin – a critical hormone for regulating our emotions, feelings and behaviors – may play a role in triggering the emergence of mental health conditions.

A world map in red with darker areas showing higher temperature rises (up to 6°C).
This map shows projected changes in daily extreme temperatures in global warming of 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period (since 1861).
Author provided

lack of sleep often occurs during heat waves, which can lead to frustration, irritability, impulsive behavior and even later violence.

Extreme temperatures, such as those observed during heat waves, have also been found to be associated with some forms. dementia and uncomfortable mental health conditions, especially for those in sensitive conditions such as psychiatric patients.

and low levels serotonin depression, anxiety, impulsivity, aggression and violent incidents.


In the future, heat wave It will be hotter and will last longer. Temperature records are likely broken more often as the world continues to warm. For example, temperatures may rise in northwest Asia. 8.4°C until 2100.

A world that is 1.5°C warmer on average will see many average regional temperatures rise more than that. This problem is exacerbated as the population, and therefore the number of people living in cities, increases. Estimated by 2050 two-thirds 50% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.

a city in summer
Cities are generally warmer than rural areas, which exacerbates the negative mental health effects caused by the heat.

Urban environments are known to be warmer than their rural environments, a phenomenon known as “”.urban heat island”. Climate projections not only predict that cities will warm faster than rural areas, but that this effect will increased at night. This can exacerbate the effects of extreme heat on our sleep.

Both of them adaptation and palliation Climate change will be necessary to mitigate these potentially devastating effects as much as possible.

Among the options to adapt our lives to a warmer world air circulation adjusted working hours inside buildings and during times of extreme heat. Paris, for example, is already a “cool islands”: Green and blue areas such as parks, ponds and swimming pools that provide shelter from the heat.

Simply put, educating people about the potential effects of heat on mental health, aggression and violence – giving them a full understanding of why heat is so important. support initiatives It can support better mental health while also fighting the climate crisis – helping to keep our planet cool.

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