The Effect of Climate on Suicide Rates

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A variety of physical, biological, psychology, and sociocultural factors influence the probability for suicide in individuals and populations. Strong evidence demonstrates that suicide rates vary across regions, and that this variation is reliably stable over time, holding true both between and within particular countries.

The extent that climate may exert an impact on the propensity for suicide in particular individuals and populations, increasing knowledge about such a tendency would have significant implications for policies related to public health and climate. Aside from improving the health behaviors of service users and the screening, prevention, or treatment practices by health professionals, knowledge of how climate may be related to suicide rates could meaningfully shape interventions as climate changes become more widespread, persistent, irreversible, and significant.

The dominant scientific way of thinking about the effect of climate on suicide rates primarily includes the idea that climate factors probably mediate psychological and social variables that themselves influence suicidal tendency. While few thinkers contend that climate is a major or primary proximal cause in suicides, the degree and nature of its influence remains indeterminate. Nevertheless, even a mild or moderate and indirect influence of climate on suicide could have significant implications for suicide prevention efforts. While the present analysis may only be correlation, such research remains necessary for any further analysis of causative relationships, especially given the basic impossibility of genuinely controlling or manipulating an actual climate.

Climate will be operationally defined here as constituting observations related to ...

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