Research Repository

Higher temperatures increase suicide rates in the United States and Mexico

Burke, Marshall and González, Felipe and Baylis, Patrick and Heft-Neal, Sam and Baysan, Ceren and Basu, Sanjay and Hsiang, Solomon (2018) 'Higher temperatures increase suicide rates in the United States and Mexico.' Nature Climate Change, 8 (8). 723 - 729. ISSN 1758-678X

[img]
Preview
Text
suicides-ncc-accepted.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Linkages between climate and mental health are often theorized but remain poorly quantified. In particular, it is unknown whether the rate of suicide, a leading cause of death globally, is systematically affected by climatic conditions. Using comprehensive data from multiple decades for both the United States and Mexico, we find that suicide rates rise 0.7% in US counties and 2.1% in Mexican municipalities for a 1 °C increase in monthly average temperature. This effect is similar in hotter versus cooler regions and has not diminished over time, indicating limited historical adaptation. Analysis of depressive language in >600 million social media updates further suggests that mental well-being deteriorates during warmer periods. We project that unmitigated climate change (RCP8.5) could result in a combined 9–40 thousand additional suicides (95% confidence interval) across the United States and Mexico by 2050, representing a change in suicide rates comparable to the estimated impact of economic recessions, suicide prevention programmes or gun restriction laws.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2019 08:51
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2019 08:51
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25387

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item