Climate change poses serious risks to people’s mental health and well-being, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. Nearly a billion people worldwide have mental health disorders, but three out of every four do not have access to necessary services, the WHO says. Mental health and psychosocial support should be integrated into disaster risk reduction and climate action, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The Philippines is one of the trailblazing nations in this area after Typhoon Haiyan.
The agency’s assessment is in line with a report released in February by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This UN agency provides governments with scientific data to guide their climate policies. The IPCC report found that climate change severely risks people’s mental health and well-being.
According to the IPCC report, there is a growing threat to mental health and psychosocial well-being from fast escalating climate change, including emotional discomfort, anxiety, sadness, grief, and suicidal behavior.
The World Health Organization urges increased assistance
According to Dr. Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, “the effects of climate change are increasingly a part of our daily lives, and there is very little dedicated mental health support available for people and communities dealing with climate-related hazards and long-term risk.”
According to the short, the effects of climate change on mental health are unequally distributed, with some groups being disproportionately affected based on elements including socioeconomic level, gender, and age.
But according to WHO, it is evident that climate change impacted many of the socioeconomic factors already significantly worsening mental health burdens worldwide. Only nine of the 95 nations surveyed last year had national health and climate change plans that addressed mental health and psychosocial support.
The World Health Organization urges for defending those in danger
“Climate change’s effects are making an already difficult situation for mental health and mental health services worldwide. Nearly a billion people worldwide have mental health disorders. Still, according to Dévora Kestel, director of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, three out of four do not have access to the necessary services.
“Countries can do more to assist protect people most at risk by stepping up mental health and psychosocial support within disaster risk reduction and climate action,” she continued.
The policy brief offers five crucial strategies for governments to address the adverse effects of climate change on mental health, along with instances of nations that have previously made progress in this area.
The World Health Organization urges putting mental health first
The WHO urged states to build on their existing global commitments and integrate climate issues with mental health programs and climate action.
To reduce vulnerabilities and overcome the significant financing gap for mental health and psychosocial support, authorities should establish community-based methods.
“The Member States of WHO have made it very clear that they place a high premium on mental health. Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, the WHO climate director and a lead author on the IPCC, stated, “We are collaborating closely with nations to protect people’s physical and mental health from climate challenges.
Setting an example
The Philippines, which restored and enhanced its mental health facilities following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, considered one of the fiercest tropical cyclones ever recorded, is one of the trailblazing nations included in the report.
While simultaneously preparing cities to respond to climate concerns, address mental health and psychosocial needs, and reduce catastrophe risk, India has ramped up disaster risk reduction.
The UN released the WHO policy brief on the last day of the Stockholm summit, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, the first international gathering to make the environment a top priority.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all countries to do more to safeguard everyone’s fundamental human right to a clean, healthy environment in his remarks at the opening on Thursday.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network