Rising temperatures are linked to increasing rates of suicide, according to a large new study. The researchers warn that the impact of climate change on suicides may be as significant as economic recessions, which are known to increase rates of self-harm.
The links between mental health and global warming have not been widely researched but the new work analysed temperature and suicides across the US and Mexico in recent decades. It found that the rate of suicide rose by 0.7% in the US and by 2.1% in Mexico when the average monthly temperature rose by 1C.
The analysis was done at county level and took into account seasonal variation, levels of poverty and even the news of celebrity suicides that can lead to more deaths. The scientists found that hotter periods resulted in more suicides irrespective of wealth and the usual climate of the area.