Correlating heatwaves and relative humidity with suicide (fatal intentional self‑harm)
Ngu, F.F., Kelman, I., Chambers, J., & Ayeb-Karlsson, S.
Empirical evidence suggests that the effects of anthropogenic climate change, and heat in particular, could have a significant impact on mental health. This article investigates the correlation between heatwaves and/or relative humidity and suicide (fatal intentional self-harm) on a global scale. The covariance between heat/humidity and suicide was modelled using a negative binomial Poisson regression with data from 60 countries between 1979–2016. Statistically significant increases and decreases in suicide were found, as well as many cases with no significant correlation. We found that relative humidity showed a more significant correlation with suicide compared to heatwaves and that both younger age groups and women seemed to be more significantly affected by changes in humidity
and heatwave counts in comparison with the rest of the population. Further research is needed to provide a larger and more consistent basis for epidemiological studies; to understand better the connections among heat, humidity and mental health; and to explore in more detail which population groups are particularly impacted and why.