Mental health and climate change in Africa

Lukoye Atwoli, Joy Muhia, Zul Merali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is now widely acknowledged that low- and middle-income countries in Africa are among global hotspots for high vulnerability to climate change, despite making comparatively low contributions to this phenomenon. Climate change has been shown to affect mental health as a result of disruption of social and economic structures that populations depend on for good health, including mental health. After decades of neglect, recent efforts by governments such as in Kenya to address the twin issues of climate change and mental health demonstrate the growing importance of these issues. Here we briefly review the evidence of climate change impacts on mental health in Africa and demonstrate that there is need for more contextual awareness and research in this area in Africa to mitigate or forestall potential mental health crises in the near future. We recommend systematic efforts to support funding for research and interventions at the nexus between climate change and mental health in Africa, and urge institutions and governments in Africa to begin paying attention to this emerging threat to the health of African populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalBJPsych International
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • climate change
  • mental disorders
  • mental health impacts

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