Factors Influencing the Mental Health Consequences of Climate Change in Canada

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 May 6;16(9):1583. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16091583.


Climate change is increasing risks to the mental health of Canadians. Impacts from a changing climate may outstrip the ability of Canadians and their health-sustaining institutions to adapt effectively and could increase poor mental health outcomes, particularly amongst those most marginalized in society. A scoping review of literature published during 2000-2017 explored risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities related to climate change and mental health. In this commentary, the authors present a new assessment of evidence from this scoping review and highlight factors that influence the capacity to adapt to the mental health consequences of a changing climate. Findings from this assessment reveal eleven key factors that influence the capacity to adapt: social capital; sense of community; government assistance; access to resources; community preparedness; intersectoral/transdisciplinary collaboration; vulnerability and adaptation assessments; communication and outreach; mental health literacy; and culturally relevant resources. Attention to these factors by Canadian decision makers can support proactive and effective management of the mental health consequences of climate change.

Keywords: adaptation; adaptive capacity; climate change; extreme weather; marginalized populations; mental health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Climate Change*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*