A few hours before midnight on December 14, 2013, a small group of scientists and engineers were sitting around a small conference table in a quiet Indian town, sipping tea and chatting over their work.
The topic of the conference was a paper on the effects of climate change on mental health.
There were also many people sitting around, drinking coffee, talking about climate change.
“This is the most important paper ever written on mental illness, right now,” said Professor Ashish Kapoor, the paper’s lead author.
“If it doesn’t reach the ground, the world will go backwards,” he said.
“We have to do something about it.”
It’s like the tsunami,” he added.
The paper, which has been published in the journal Science, looked at whether rising temperatures would affect people’s mental health in a wide variety of ways.
Its conclusions were stark.
The scientists had hoped to publish the paper in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in December, but that deadline has now passed.”
If we’re not careful, we will be forced to confront this very real danger,” Kapoor said.
The scientists had hoped to publish the paper in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in December, but that deadline has now passed.
They are now focusing their efforts on getting the word out.
“We’re getting a lot of messages from people around the world who are worried about climate and want to get their voices heard,” said Kapoor.
The work of Kapoor and his team has been hugely influential in shaping the way the scientific community looks at climate change, said Dr Sarah Turek, an epidemiologist at the Australian National University in Canberra.
“The authors are extremely influential, they’ve created a paradigm shift in how we think about mental health,” she said.
“When you look at what they’ve done, they are not only pioneering, they’re doing it in a way that we haven’t seen before.”
The scientists were able to find evidence of a connection between rising temperatures and mental health through a variety of studies, but they could only do this through a study of a small number of people.
“A lot of these studies were done in small groups, so you couldn’t get any real insight into whether it was affecting mental health, so we looked for evidence in the broader population, and we found that there was no correlation,” said Ture.
Professor Kapoor’s team found that the most common cause of mental health problems was depression, which can be a serious mental illness.
“Our paper has found that if you’re depressed you are more likely to have problems with depression, and the most commonly reported cause of depression is the stress of climate,” he told ABC News.
The researchers believe that climate change has the potential to cause mental health issues, but it will take some time for the research to reach its full impact.
“There is some evidence that we may be seeing more cases of depression, but we don’t know if it’s a particular kind of depression or a specific kind of stress,” Kapur said.
He said the work of his team was important because it would allow more people to learn more about mental illness and help them understand the causes of the problem.
“You might get an idea of what your own risk might be, but if you get the right research, then you might find a treatment that works for you,” Kapurt said.
Topics:health,science-and-technology,climate-change,sciences,health-policy,health,united-statesFirst posted December 14, 2019 17:46:08Contact Rohan Nair