WHO says climate change is causing mental health problems

KOMPAS.com – The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that climate change is affecting the mental health of the global community.

This was revealed in the recent WHO guidance on mental health and climate change at the Stockholm 50 conference.

Reported from the official site WHOFriday (03/06/2022) These findings are consistent with the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published February 2022.

Also Read: Climate Change May Cause Next Pandemic, Study Explains

In its report, IPPC found that climate change is significantly increasing the risk to community mental health and psychosocial conditions.

Ranging from emotional stress, anxiety, depression, sadness to suicidal thoughts.

“The impacts of climate change are becoming more and more a part of our lives and there is very little specific support for the mental health of individuals and communities in relation to climate hazards and their long-term risks,” said the director of the Department for the Environment, Climate Change and Health at WHO, Dr. Maria Neira.

According to the WHO, the impact of climate change on mental health depends on factors such as socioeconomic status, gender and age.

However, they emphasized that climate change is affecting many social determinants that have led to increasing global mental health burdens.

“The impacts of climate change are exacerbating an already extremely challenging situation for mental health and mental health services worldwide,” said Devora Kestel, director of the WHO Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

“Nearly 1 billion people live with mental illness, but in low- and middle-income countries three out of four people do not have access to the services they need.”

WHO defines mental health as a state of well-being in which each individual is fulfilling their own potential, able to cope with life’s challenges, able to work productively, be useful and able to contribute to his or her community.

When this is not the case, the state is deemed necessary to be present in the midst of the mental health problems of its population.

Also Read: Climate Change Disrupts Bedtime, How Can You Do It?

So far, only 9 countries have included mental health and psychosocial support in their national health and climate action plans, according to the results of a 2021 WHO survey of 95 countries.

Therefore, WHO urges countries around the world to include mental health support in their response to the climate crisis.

“By improving mental health and psychosocial support for disaster risk reduction and climate action, countries can do more to protect those most at risk,” WHO said.

Also Read: Climate Change Threatens Indonesia’s Food Security, What Are the Impacts?

WHO recommendations address the impact of climate change on mental health

In the new WHO guidance, experts recommend five key approaches for governments to address the impact of climate change on mental health, including:

  • Integrating climate considerations into mental health programs
  • Integrating mental health support into climate improvement actions
  • Build global engagement
  • Develop a community-based approach to reduce vulnerability
  • Fill existing major funding gaps for mental health and psychosocial support

“WHO member countries have made it clear that mental health is a priority for them. We work with many countries to protect people’s physical and mental health from climate change threats,” said Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, WHO climate chief and lead author of the IPCC study.

One country implementing these efforts is the Philippines, which developed and improved mental health services after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan disaster.

Similarly, India has built a national project to reduce disaster risk in the country.

The Indian government is also preparing its country to respond to the risks of climate change and to address mental health and psychosocial issues.

Also Read: The Effects of Climate Change on Extreme Weather Phenomena

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