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Climate Change and mental health in the UK: impacts of changes in temperature, precipitation and UV (2016)


In the UK the main climate related health threats include: summer heatwaves and droughts; flooding and its associated mental health issues; interactions between air pollutants, pollen and higher temperatures; deterioration in food and water quality; and increase in vector borne diseases. Research on the health effects of climate change has focused largely on direct physical health impacts, with very little research existing with regard to the short and long term impacts of climate change on mental health disorders (e.g. depression and anxiety), and the associated financial costs. The three main mental health implications as a consequence of climate change include:

  1. immediate impacts on the prevalence and severity of mental health issues in affected communities, as well as significant implications for mental health systems from direct impacts of climate change such as extreme event;
  2. vulnerable communities are beginning to experience disruptions to the social, economic and environmental determinants that promote mental health,
  3. a growing understanding of how climate change as a global environmental threat may create emotional distress and anxiety about the future.


This report links together climate and health data, with a specific interest in whether there is an association between mental health (depression and anxiety) and climate variability in order to build evidence for managing demand in the future for mental health care in the UK under a changing climate.

Reference information

EU FP-7 project BASE – Bottom-Up Climate Adaptation Strategies towards a Sustainable Europe


cloud cover, menthal health, vulnerable communities

Climate impacts

Extreme Temperatures, Flooding, Storms


Adaptation Measures and Actions, Vulnerability Assessment



Geographic characterisation


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