Impact of changes in temperature, precipitation and UV on Health (United Kingdom)
The Climate Challenge
In the UK, the main climate-related health threats are summer heat waves and droughts; flooding and associated mental health issues; interactions between air pollutants, pollen and higher temperatures; deterioration in food and water quality; and increases in vector borne diseases. Beyond the direct physical health impacts, however, there is the challenge of the short and long term impacts of climate change on mental health disorders (e.g. depression and anxiety) and the associated financial costs.
The Adaptation Response
This case study examined the autonomous adaptation of the health care system in terms of drug prescription for mild to moderate depression. It found that, in the case where extreme events are excluded, antidepressant demand may fall.
The people and institutions involved
Stakeholders from Public Health England were consulted and informed of the case study outcome that the impact of climate related events on mental health was found to be positive.
The Outcome of Action
This case study suggested that improvements in the resilience of healthcare systems to meet future climate change will save money long-term and will also assist in coping with natural catastrophes.
Dr Sahran Higgins, European Centre for Environment & Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro Campus, TR1 3HD email: email@example.com
Dr Tim Taylor, European Centre for Environment & Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro Campus, TR1 3HD email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The full report of this case study can be read here.
Photo © Fotolia/ autofocus67