By comparing temperature and suicide data from thousands of US counties and Mexican municipalities over several decades, the study has revealed strong evidence that hotter weather increases suicide rates. Considering this and doing simulation, the researchers found that if the world warms by 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, it could result in a 1.4 percent increase in America’s suicide rate and a 2.3 percent increase in Mexico’s suicide rate. In other words, researchers predict that hotter temperatures could result in an additional 21,000 suicides in the US and Mexico by 2050.
“When talking about climate change, it’s often easy to think in abstractions. But the thousands of additional suicides that are likely to occur as a result of unmitigated climate change are not just a number, they represent tragic losses for families across the country,” said one of the authors of the paper, Marshall Burke, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford. Of course, the study does not suggest that temperature is the only factor associated with suicide. Even seasonal patterns in suicide rates exist too. Right now, suicide alone causes more deaths globally than all forms of interpersonal and intergroup violence combined, being among the top 5 causes of death globally, and among the top ten in the US. The study also proves it appears that heat profoundly affects the human mind. “That to us suggests at least there’s a plausible biological linkage between temperature, thermal regulation and how the brain regulates its own emotion,” professor Burke said. The only way to solve this deadly global issue is to halt the rapid warming of our planet.