A new extensive study revealed that rising temperatures, linked to climate change, triggered increased suicide rates, around the world, similarly to economic recessions, a well-known cause for suicides worldwide.
How global warming affects the mental health in humans is not yet scientifically assessed but more and more theories connect climate change with mental illness and disorders. The recent study, however, reveals a connection, at least statistically, between increased suicide rates, in the US and Mexico, and rising temperatures.
Accordingly, the researchers noted that a rise in temperatures across the US and Mexico of one degree Celsius caused an increase in suicide rates of about 0.7% in the US and 2.1% in Mexico.
Analysing several factors including levels of poverty and celebrity suicides which can lead to more deaths, too, the researchers observed a puzzling pattern. Accordingly, during hotter periods, as effects of the climate change, more suicides occurred.
Due to climate change, rising temperatures trigger increased suicide rates
“Determining whether or not the rate of suicide responds to climatic conditions is important, as suicide alone causes more deaths globally than all forms of violence combined and is among the top 10–15 causes of death globally,” explained Marshall Burke from the Stanford University, and the study’s leading author.
However, the recent research can’t establish a clear connection between climate change and rising temperatures and increased suicide rates, but it shows, at least statistically, a consistency between increased temperatures and more suicides, across the world.
The study estimated that the highest suicide rates due to climate change occurred in India, as the scientists assessed that about 60,000 suicides in India occurred due to rising temperatures, over the past 30 years.
Additionally, after analyzing approximately 600 million posts on Twitter, the scientists noticed that, during hotter periods, people tended to use more depressive words. “This further suggests that mental wellbeing deteriorates during warmer periods,” the researchers said.
The study concluded that in case the climate change is not tackled, rising temperatures could trigger between 10,000 and 40,000 suicides across the US and Canada by 2050.