New Delhi: A new study has found a closer link of Relative humidity with suicide than heat waves. In an analysis of the impact of climate change on fatal self-harm rates, it shows that the younger population and women were more susceptible to the harmful effects of changes in humidity and heat wave counts.
Twenty-eight countries have a particularly strong link between the number of suicides and humidity, according to the research. These include Guyana in South America and Thailand in Asia.
Within Africa, humidity led to suicidal tendencies in South Africa and Egypt.
The study was conducted by researchers from universities in the United Nations, Sussex and Geneva as well as University College London looked at publicly available data from 60 countries between 1979 and 2016.
The study finds that humidity is more dangerous than dry heat alone because it impairs sweating — the body’s life-saving natural cooling system.
“In European countries too, suicides had been found to be associated with humidity,” the analysts wrote in the paper. Suicide is one of the top 10-15 causes of death globally and not many studies have linked suicide to changing climate.
The researchers also noticed that some countries showed increasing rates of suicide with increasing heat and humidity, while others showed decreasing rates and some showed no significant correlation at all.
This is the first analysis of its kind and is essential for analysing climate change’s possible impact on mental health.
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