Impact of climate events, pollution, and green spaces on mental health: An umbrella review of meta-analyses

Pim Cuijpers, Clara Miguel, Marketa Ciharova, Manasi Kumar, Luke Brander, Pushpam Kumar, Eirini Karyotaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change may affect mental health. We conducted an umbrella review of meta-analyses examining the association between mental health and climate events related to climate change, pollution and green spaces. We searched major bibliographic databases and included meta-analyses with at least five primary studies. Results were summarized narratively. We included 24 meta-analyses on mental health and climate events (n = 13), pollution (n = 11), and green spaces (n = 2) (two meta-analyses provided data on two categories). The quality was suboptimal. According to AMSTAR-2, the overall confidence in the results was high for none of the studies, for three it was moderate, and for the other studies the confidence was low to critically low. The meta-analyses on climate events suggested an increased prevalence of symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety associated with the exposure to various types of climate events, although the effect sizes differed considerably across study and not all were significant. The meta-analyses on pollution suggested that there may be a small but significant association between PM2.5, PM10, NO2, SO2, CO and mental health, especially depression and suicide, as well as autism spectrum disorders after exposure during pregnancy, but the resulting effect sizes varied considerably. Serious methodological flaws make it difficult to draw credible conclusions. We found reasonable evidence for an association between climate events and mental health and some evidence for an association between pollution and mental disorders. More high-quality research is needed to verify these associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-653
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023


  • Anxiety
  • climate change
  • depression
  • green spaces
  • mental health
  • pollution
  • suicide


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