Climate change is the greatest threat to global public health, although the impacts on mental health are relatively understudied. Furthermore, there is a lack of consensus about the effects of climate change on individuals with pre-existing mental health problems. This review aimed to identify the health impacts of climate change on people with pre-existing mental health problems. The search was conducted across three databases; studies were included if they involved participants who had mental health problem(s) before a climate-driven event and reported on health outcomes post-event. A total of thirty-one studies met the full inclusion criteria. The study characteristics included 6 climate-driven events: heat events, floods, wildfires, wildfire and flood, hurricanes, and droughts, and 16 categories of pre-existing mental health problems, with depression, and non-specified mental health problems being the most common. The majority of the studies (90%, n = 28) suggest an association between the presence of pre-existing mental health problems and the likelihood of adverse health impacts (e.g., increased mortality risk, new symptom presentation, and an exacerbation of symptoms). To mitigate the exacerbation of health inequalities, people with pre-existing mental health problems should be included in adaption guidance and/or plans that mitigate the health impacts of climate change, future policy, reports, and frameworks.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2023|
- extreme heat
- post-traumatic stress