Forecasting Change: How a changing climate is impacting mental health

54% of adults, 45% of children suffer depression after disaster

Sun (Pixabay)

ORLANDO, Fla. – This week in Central Florida, the average temperature high ticked up to 90.

Now, most of us live here because we love the weather. And the summer heat with temperatures each day in the 90s is a part of life we love. But did you know the weather has a huge impact on mental health?

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Nearly 1 in 5 American adults lives with a mental illness. Our climate impacts lead to more problems with mental health and well-being.

According to the American Public Health Association, up to 54% of adults and 45% of children suffer depression after a disaster. And PTSD has become a problem for survivors of hurricane disasters.

One in six people in Mississippi and Louisiana had PTSD symptoms after Hurricane Katrina. About 15% of New York City residents had PTSD symptoms after Hurricane Sandy. PTSD rates in Houston were up to 25% after Harvey in 2017. And in Puerto Rico, PTSD rates ranged from 44-66% among those displaced after Hurricane Maria.

The latest number say that 48% of Americans believe that climate change is already affecting our mental health. And 51% are anxious about the future impacts for the next generations.

Our media partners at Climate Central report that other numbers are staggering as well. A full 70% of Americans report feeling “somewhat worried” about global warming. They also say a survey of 10,000 youths across 10 countries found the youths to be feeling sad (57%), anxious (58%) and depressed (34%) about climate change.

Climate change and Mental Health

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.