September 26, 2022
Earlier this week, the New Jersey Departments of Health and Environmental Protection have released the first supplement to the 2020 New Jersey Scientific Report on Climate Change, which presented the latest and most reliable scientific information on the current and predicted future impacts of climate change specific to New Jersey.
As stated in the report, "This addendum explains how human health is likely to be directly and indirectly impacted by climate change. Heat waves and worsening air quality will likely increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and cancers. The risk of infectious diseases spread by pests or insects, as well as microorganism contamination of food and water supplies, are likely to become more prevalent. Increasing extreme weather events will also present long-term challenges to the health and wellbeing of New Jersey residents and their communities. For example, rising sea-levels and increasing flood events will cause more residents to be displaced from their homes, contributing to the adverse impacts of climate change upon mental health."
In Section 5 of the report, "Climate Change-Driven Community Impacts", special attention is given to the effects of climate change on mental health. It highlights mental health problems following disasters among individuals with no history of mental illness, as well as individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions. The increasing occurrence of natural disasters caused by climate change also impacts individuals living in low-income communities with fewer resources, as with fewer means to evacuate, they may be forced to survive under inhospitable living conditions.
It was stated that children, those who are pregnant and post-partum, the elderly, economically disadvantaged individuals, and first responders are particularly prone to suffering from mental health issues following exposure to climate change-related disasters.
Click here to access the report and for more information.