Friday, June 21, 2024

Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder… Climate change threatens child and adolescent health


According to a new report from the American Psychiatric Association, climate change will play a major role in affecting the mental health of children and adolescents.

The report, co-authored with EcoAmerica, documents how environmental events associated with climate change, including natural disasters, extreme heat and poor air quality, can trigger or worsen mental health problems among people. Children and young adults, according to CNN.

Natural disasters can trigger PTSD in these groups, the report says, while long-term problems such as extreme heat, dehydration and poor air quality can increase the risks of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and cognitive impairment.

“Our report documents the psychological toll climate change is taking on our nation’s children and adolescents right now,” said Dr. Dennis P., senior director of applied psychology at the American Psychiatric Association, who co-authored the report. Stoll wrote. This is not a problem that we can wait and solve later. “As a society, we must act now.”

For her part, Dr Sue Clayton, a professor of psychology at the College of Worcester who co-authored the report, said children are particularly vulnerable to the psychological effects of climate change. Because they may not have the coping strategies that adults have.

Children search for debris left by Typhoon Haima in Manila Bay in October 2016 (AFP)

He added: “If parents are stressed due to hardships associated with environmental events such as extreme heat or bushfires, it can affect their children’s mental health. “Exposure to trauma at an early age can have lifelong effects on mental health and well-being.”

Mental health effects begin before a child is born, the report says, adding that premature exposure of fetuses to natural disasters, high temperatures and air pollution can increase the risk of developing a variety of behavioral and developmental problems, including anxiety and depression. Movement, attention deficit, developmental delay, low self-control and psychological disorders.

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These effects can affect the development of the nervous system, Clayton said, and often go untreated.

The researchers pointed out that children and adolescents around the world are not affected by these harmful effects of climate change to the same extent or in the same way, with those from marginalized or low-income communities being more vulnerable to developing mental health problems. compared to others.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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