Heat and humidity due to climate change can be linked to an increase in suicide, according to a scientific report that used data from 60 countries for several decades.
One article published in “Scientific Reports” on Monday claimed that they have “empirical evidence” that suggests that “the effects of anthropogenic climate change” – namely heat and humidity – may “have a significant impact on mental health.”
Humidity in particular had a higher correlation with suicide than heat waves, and the connection had the greatest effect on younger people and women, according to the report, which stated “there is probably a connection between both heat waves and relative humidity with suicide.”
Co-author Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson told The guard that the coupling can be a result of the body’s difficulties in regulating the temperature in humid environments and that sleep can also be a factor.
“If you talk about mental health, there are quite a few connections – there is anxiety, it is difficult to sleep, it becomes unbearable,” explained Ayeb-Karlsson and added, “Lack of sleep is a huge thing … It is difficult to sleep when it’s hot and even more so when it’s humid. “
Although hot countries like Thailand proved to be some of the most vulnerable, Ayeb-Karlsson warned that colder European countries like Sweden also showed a link between humidity and suicide, explaining that “the shock of going from colder temperatures to extreme temperatures” can be “dangerous to mental health”. According to the study, 40 countries had a particularly strong link between suicide and humidity.
However, the results were mixed, with some hot and humid countries showing a reduced suicide rate or no correlation at all, and the report noted that further research would be necessary.
The study also did not take into account factors such as socio-economic status and access to healthcare in its results.