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How Does Severe Weather Affect Mental Health?

When severe weather causes serious damage, it’s no surprise it impacts our emotional well-being. Research shows people are much more likely to experience poor mental health leading to anxiety or even depression if their homes are damaged by severe weather.

Severe Weather Damage and Poor Mental Health 

APMS (Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey) is a primary source of data on the mental health of people living in England. One of its studies uses diagnostic criteria to assess mental disorders. It’s long been known people who live in disadvantaged areas are more at risk of experiencing mental health issues.

It turns out people whose homes have been damaged due to severe weather are at a similar disadvantage. The damage caused to a home doesn’t even have to be catastrophic to affect the mental well-being of the people living there.

The information collected by the APMS was gathered throughout 2014. One of the questions participants were asked was whether their home had been damaged as a result of weather within the past six months. This included damage caused by flooding, snow, wind, and/or rain.

In addition to storm damage to properties, researchers also took into consideration other factors associated with poor mental health, such as physical health, debt, and social disadvantages. Using this information, researchers came to the conclusion that people who had experienced storm damage to their homes were 50 percent more likely to experience poor mental health.

The findings are considered extremely important because of the increase in frequency and intensity of storms and climate change flooding in the UK and around the world. Based on the research, mental health support for people affected by storms should be included in future emergency planning for extreme weather.

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