Rising temperatures due to human-created global warming of forecast to increase suicide rates in the United States and Mexico, a study said Monday.
Researchers at Stanford University projected temperature increases would result in 21,000 more suicides per year between the two countries by 2050.
"When talking about climate change, it's often easy to think in body_abstractions,” Marshall Burke, the study’s author said in a statement. “But the thousands of additional suicides that are likely to occur as a result of unmitigated climate change are not just a number, they represent tragic losses for families across the country.”
Scientists linked an increase in suicides with warmer weather for some time, although the reasons why have proved elusive.
In the study, the researchers looked at suicide rates throughout thousands of U.S. counties and Mexican municipalities. They then compared the decades of suicide rate information with historical temperature data.
Additionally, researchers gathered social media posts containing keywords hinting at depression, like “lonely” or “suicidal”. The posts were then compared to the temperature data.
Researchers found a strong link between hotter temperatures and more suicides as well as more depressive language online. Though they do not believe people are directly depressed due to warmer weather, heat appears to push the human mind to commit more self-harm.
In all, projected temperature increases by 2050 due to climate change would also raise the number of suicides in the U.S. by 1.4 percent and in Mexico by 2.3 percent, Burke found.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 800,000 people commit suicide every year across the globe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 45,000 suicides in the U.S. in 2016, a statistic that has been trending upward since 2000. In 2014, the WHO reported that there were about 6,200 suicides in Mexico, where suicides have been slowly increasing as well.
"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,” Burke added. ”So better understanding the causes of suicide is a public health priority.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Copyright Andolu Ajansi