Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change linked to increase in Australia's suicide rates, study shows

Date:
February 19, 2014
Source:
Queensland University of Technology
Summary:
A researcher is predicting suicide rates will rise as a result of climate change after finding a link between high and varied temperatures and people taking their own life. "Based on Australia's climate the high risk seasons for Brisbane and Sydney are spring and early summer, so it is therefore necessary to strengthen current monitoring systems on attempted suicide especially in areas with high unemployment rates. As global climate change and financial recession continue, it is vital to develop local interventions to reduce suicidal risk," states the lead author of the newly published article.

A QUT researcher is predicting suicide rates will rise as a result of climate change after finding a link between high and varied temperatures and people taking their own life. Researcher Xin Qi, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, studied the socioenvironmental drivers of suicide rates in Australia over 20 years and found variations in temperatures coupled with spikes in unemployment were significant risk factors for suicide.

His research, completed as part of his PhD, has helped to pinpoint who and when people might be at higher risk of suicide.

"What we found was that when the difference of the monthly average temperature in the current month compared with the previous one month increased by 1 degree, there was a 3 per cent increase in suicide in Brisbane and Sydney," Dr Qi said.

"For example, when looking at Sydney, if the temperature difference between September and October (2.55 degrees) was 1.5 degrees higher than that between August and September (1.05 degrees), then we saw a 4.5 per cent increase of suicide in October compared with September.

"Based on Australia's climate the high risk seasons for Brisbane and Sydney are spring and early summer, so it is therefore necessary to strengthen current monitoring systems on attempted suicide especially in areas with high unemployment rates. As global climate change and financial recession continue, it is vital to develop local interventions to reduce suicidal risk."

Dr Qi said when unemployment rates were added to the mix, suicide rates increased significantly.

"For example a 1 per cent increase in unemployment rate is associated with a 5 per cent risk of higher suicide in Brisbane and Perth," he said.

"In months with a higher unemployment rate, the temperature difference between adjacent months had more of a significant association with suicide in Brisbane compared with months with a low unemployment rate."

While Dr Qi's research did not reveal why this occurred, he said previous studies had shown temperature could be attributed to seasonal changes in physiological conditions of the body such as levels of serotonin -- which is related to wellness and happiness.

Dr Qi said the study also found there were two significant suicide clusters in Australia -- Mornington Shire (northwest of Queensland) and the Bathurst-Melville area (north of the Northern Territory), especially after the mid-1990s. "We also found some suburbs of Adelaide identified as major clusters in male suicide. These areas were low socio-economic areas or with high Indigenous populations."

Dr Qi said the study had important implications for evidence-based public health policy on suicide control and prevention. He said unemployment and temperature change had an interactive effect on suicide.

"Even though Australia has suicide control and prevention plans, few consider the impact of environmental factors in suicide prevention programs," he said.

"There needs to be more attention to the potential of increased suicide risks posed by climate change, especially in vulnerable groups like the unemployed or Indigenous communities."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queensland University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queensland University of Technology. "Climate change linked to increase in Australia's suicide rates, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095515.htm>.
Queensland University of Technology. (2014, February 19). Climate change linked to increase in Australia's suicide rates, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095515.htm
Queensland University of Technology. "Climate change linked to increase in Australia's suicide rates, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095515.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins