Extreme weather events may lead to poor mental health – Report


As per a new research, extreme weather conditions are detrimental to the mental well-being of people. Not only this, people who have their homes destroyed by natural calamities – which include floods and storms – suffer from extreme mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, suggests a study.

The study and the results were published in the journal ‘International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health’ where it was found that people with weather-damaged homes are more likely to go through mental health issues.

The survey was conducted throughout 2014 and also included a question which asked participants if their home had been damaged by wind, rain, snow or flood in the six months prior to when the interview was conducted. This aforementioned period included December 2013 to March 2014, which saw severe winter storms and extensive flooding in the United Kingdom.

“This study shows that exposure to extreme or even moderate weather events may result in ‘psychological casualties’ with significant impacts on mental health,” said study’s lead author Hilary Graham from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.

“This is reflective of the huge impact storms and flooding have on people’s lives alongside the physical damage to homes and businesses, there is the emotional damage to the sense of security that many people derive from their home,” Graham added.

“With extreme weather events on the rise due to climate change, environmental and health policies need to be brought much more closely together. This means recognising that flood protection policies are also health protection policies and that better protecting community from floods is also an investment in protecting their mental health,” said Graham.

As per Julie Foley, who is the Director of Flood Risk Strategy & National Adaptation at the Environment Agency, the impact of flooding on people is extremely devastating as people are forced to stay out of their homes for months together and even transport and school is impacted.

“The impact of flooding on people is devastating and can last long after the floodwaters have gone away. People can be out of their homes for months or even years, and the impacts are even wider if businesses, schools, and transport routes are affected. This research highlights how the consequences of flooding can have a significant impact on mental health wellbeing,” Foley noted.

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