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Study finds link between climate change and mental health

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New data has found that climate change and extreme weather events can directly impact a person’s mental health.

According to a study from the Imperial College of London, there is a distinct relationship between increased temperatures and suicides with data showing a one per cent increase in the number of suicides for each temperature increase of 1°C.

“It really just shows there’s a direct correlation between natural disasters, climate change and mental health,” said Matt Friesen with Western Financial Group.

Friesen noted this correlation has to do with “eco-anxiety,” which leaves people worried about flooding, wildfires, evacuations and the consequences of natural disasters.

“Those are the types of things that are getting people distressed, like is this our norm now? Is that what we’re always going to experience?” he said.

More people seeking help

Friesen said that since 2019 more people are seeking help for their mental health.

He noted that in 2022 Canadian life and health insurers paid out about $650 million for mental health support-related claims – double the amount in 2019.

“More and more of our employers are facing that pressure from their employees to offer [mental health support],” he said, “Because unlike basic health coverage, to go see a psychologist or employee assistance program or talk to someone, isn’t free. It’s quite expensive actually.”

On the bright side, Friesen added that more employers are offering mental health coverage as more people seek them out.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace.

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