The influence of climate change on mental health in populations of the western Pacific region: An umbrella scoping review

Aikaterini Vafeiadou*, Michael J. Banissy, Jasmine F.M. Banissy, Julian P.T. Higgins, Guy Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

The Western Pacific Region (WPR) is on the front line of climate change challenges. Understanding how these challenges affect the WPR populations' mental health is essential to design effective prevention and care policies. Thus, the present study conducted an umbrella scoping review that examined the influence of climate change on mental health in the WPR, using review articles as a source of information. Ten review articles were selected according to eligibility criteria, and the findings were synthesized according to the socio-economic status of the countries identified: Australia, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Pacific Islands (broadly), and China. The findings revealed that each country and sub-region has its own unique profile of climate change-related challenges and vulnerable populations, highlighting the need for specific approaches to mental health care. Specifically, the influence of climate-related challenges differed according to populations' region (e.g., rural populations), demographic characteristics (e.g., age and gender), culture (e.g., traditional tights to land), and employment (e.g., farmers and fishers). The most frequently reported mental health outcomes in response to climate change-related challenges such as droughts, floods, storms, tornadoes, typhoons, and climate-related migration were the decline in mental well-being and the increase in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. In addition, using the GRADE framework for assessing the certainty of the findings, we identified that the number of articles discussing associations between a given climate change challenge and a mental health outcome was overall limited. Based on our findings and findings on a global scale, we identified several key research gaps in WPR and provided recommendations for future research and policy strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21457
JournalHeliyon
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the World Health Organization under an agreement for the performance of work issued in behalf of the western Pacific regional office.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Mental health
  • Well-being
  • Western Pacific region

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