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The Global Mental Health Burden of Historical Climate Change

Health & Psychology

Credit: Stormseeker on Unsplash

Study Context

Nearly 80% of suicide deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (World Health Organization et al., 2014). Despite the prevalence, the understanding of the many interacting drivers of suicide is relatively weak. Based on previous literature on a link between warming temperatures and rising suicide rates, the research team will use a newly-compiled, globally-comprehensive dataset to empirically quantify and separately identify both possible links between suicide and climate. Additionally, high-resolution climate model output from the “Detection and Attribution Model Intercomparison Project” (DAMIP) will be used to run counterfactual predictions in which the historical influence of anthropogenic emissions on global temperatures is removed.

Study Design

Using annual national-level suicide records from the World Health Organization for 183 countries, this study will explain differences across populations in vulnerability to the mental health implications for climate change. It will also identify the channels through which higher temperatures may lead to suicide rate increases. Standard climate economic regression models will identify heterogeneity in the sensitivity of suicide rates to weather based on climate and socioeconomic conditions. Empirical results will be used to assess the spatially differentiated impact of anthropogenic climate change on suicide rates to date. 

Results and Policy Lessons

Results forthcoming.


2022 — ongoing

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