Warming temperatures linked to increase in suicide rates

Researchers have found a strong correlation between rising temperatures from climate change and increased suicide rates in the U.S. and Mexico.

In a study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers were able to conclude that for every one degree Celsius that increased in the monthly average temperature, suicide rates broadened by 0.7 percent in the U.S. and 2.1 percent in Mexico.

“Using comprehensive data from multiple decades for both the United States and Mexico, we find that suicide rates rise 0.7% in US counties and 2.1% in Mexican municipalities for a 1 °C increase in monthly average temperature. This effect is similar in hotter versus cooler regions and has not diminished over time, indicating limited historical adaptation,” the study reads.

During warmer temperatures, violence or conflict tends to transpire, thus creating a depraved atmosphere for those suffering from psychological distress, research suggests. “It appears that heat profoundly affects the human mind and how we decide to inflict harm,” said Solomon Hsiang, the study’s co-author.

The link between warming temperatures and suicidal behavior was the result of data comparisons stretching decades. According to the data, rising temperatures could trigger anywhere between 9,000 to 44,000 additional suicides in the U.S. and Mexico by 2050.

The study showcases the first extensive evidence of warming temperatures and its impact on affectivity; in this case, suicidality. “This may be the first decisive evidence that climate change will have a substantial effect on mental health in the United States and Mexico, with tragic human costs,” Hsiang proclaimed.

Globally, suicide remains one of the top causes of death, which has seen a drastic increase over the last decade or so, research has shown.

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death globally, and suicide rates in the U.S. have risen dramatically over the last 15 years,” said Marshall Burke, the lead author of the study.

“So better understanding the causes of suicide is a public health priority.”

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