The Mental-Health Burden of Climate Change Continues Long After the Storm
‘I don’t think we are ready for the coming tsunami of climate mental health impacts.’
When the floodwaters recede, or the wildfire embers burn out and the ash blows away, talk of “recovery” often begins.
But a recent study published in JAMA following more than 96,000 Puerto Rican young people in the wake of Hurricane Maria shines a light on how the end of natural disasters spark the beginning of mental health crises—and how climate change could continue to feed that fire.
“In any natural disaster, you have to realize that one disaster causes a cascade of secondary losses and stressors,” David Schonfeld, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the University of Southern California, told The Daily Beast in a phone call. Schonfeld often travels to the site of disasters, and stresses that the mental health burden, especially on children, can last well beyond what one might expect.