WHO says mental health assistance must be integrated in national climate change response in a new policy brief released at Stockholm+50.
Climate change presents substantial dangers to mental and physical health , the agency said, echoing a February study done on Climate change by(IPCC)- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body that informs nations’ climate policy.
The IPCC report found that fast climate change threatens mental health, psycho-social well-being, including emotional discomfort, anxiety, sadness, sorrow, and suicide tendencies.
“The consequences of sudden change in climate are becoming a reality of our everyday lives, and there is hardly any mental health assistance for individuals and communities coping with climate change-related dangers and threat in the long run,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO’s Director of Environment, Climate Change and Health.
Certain populations are disproportionately impacted by climate change based on socioeconomic level, age, and gender according to the brief.
WHO claimed climate change impacts several socioeconomic variables that contribute to huge mental health costs world-wide. Only 9 of 95 nations examined last year integrate mental health issues along with psychosocial assistance in their mental health and climate change policies.
Keeping individuals safe
Drastic Climatic changes are making an already difficult time for global mental health even worse. In poor and developing nations, three out of four persons with mental health disorders have no access to critical care, according to Dévora Kestel, director of WHO’s Department of Drug Abuse and Mental Health..
By boosting mental and behavioral health support in climate action for reduction of disaster risk, governments can safeguard individuals at danger, she said.
The policy brief offers five ways to the government authorities to combat the mental health implications of climate changes and gives examples of nations making progress.
Mental health first
WHO urged states to incorporate climate concerns into mental health programmes, unite mental health care with climate action, and uphold global commitments.
Authorities should also create community-based ways to decrease vulnerabilities and bridge the mental health financing gap.
“WHO Members have made mental health a priority. We collaborate with governments to safeguard people’s mental, Physical and psycho-social well-being from climate challenges, said Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, WHO climate head and IPCC lead author.
The Philippines restored and enhanced its services for mental health following 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest ever recorded.
India has also increased catastrophe risk reduction while preparing cities for climatic hazards and mental health demands.
The WHO policy brief was released on the last day of the Stockholm summit, which marked the UNO’s 50th anniversary Meeting on the issue of Human Environment, the first global conference to focus on the environment.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all states to defend the essential human right to a clean, healthy environment.