Institute for Global Health


New systemic review focusing on mental health and wellbeing outcomes of climate change mitigation

20 December 2023

Dr Laura Brown (Honorary Lecturer, UCL Institute for Global Health) and colleagues from LSHTM explore Mental health and wellbeing outcomes of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in this new systematic review.

One World sign

New article 'Mental health and wellbeing outcomes of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies: A systemic review' has been published by IOPscience.

This systematic review explores the impact of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies on mental health and wellbeing outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While emphasizing the potential of these strategies to alleviate common mental disorders and enhance perceived wellbeing among vulnerable populations, the findings underscore significant gaps in the existing literature.

The study, encompassing 15 investigations with over 12,000 participants, primarily focuses on adaptation strategies in rural communities facing environmental threats like droughts, deforestation, or floods. Notably, mitigation interventions need to be more adequately represented, and only two studies directly measure common mental disorders, with most examining broader wellbeing.

Approximately half of the studies reveal positive impacts on wellbeing, with interventions such as cash transfers and integrated community programs demonstrating success in enhancing quality of life and perceived wellbeing. However, the remaining studies present mixed results, particularly in the context of multi-country anti-deforestation initiatives, emphasizing the influence of local factors in implementing effective strategies.

Despite these insights, the review highlights critical gaps in the existing research landscape. Rigorous prospective studies are limited, especially for mitigation interventions, and the overall evidence remains scarce and mixed. The absence of specific mental health measurements and outcomes for critical groups like women and minorities further accentuates the need for more comprehensive, context-specific research.

The synthesis emphasizes the imperative for integrated policies that address environmental risks, foster resilience, and empower communities. The findings call for urgent attention to the interconnected global climate and mental health crises affecting vulnerable populations in LMICs, advocating for evidence-based, equitable approaches to advance climate solutions and health co-benefits. This cross-disciplinary perspective is valuable for researchers and policymakers seeking practical and inclusive strategies to navigate climate change's complex challenges.

Read the article online: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ad153f