Study Indicates Potential Rise in Suicides Due to Global Warming

August 01, 2018

As reported in the Daily Californian, the study examined suicide rates and social media posts during hotter periods and concluded that an additional 21,000 suicides might occur in the United States and Mexico by 2050 as a result of temperature increases over the next few decades. In addition to suicide rates, the researchers examined Twitter posts during these hot spells and found that more people posted “depressive content” on Twitter during the hotter periods, according to ARE alum Patrick Baylis MS '12, PhD '16, now an assistant professor at the Vancouver School of Economics. Said ERG professor Dan Kammen, “It showed the correlation, not causation. However, a very (small) study more than 20 years ago in the very hot summer of 1988 … saw not only more suicides, but more domestic violence.” Baylis emphasized that the team is not a group of mental health professionals and that suicide is a complicated issue influenced by many factors, and acknowledged that the model used to predict the suicide increase assumed that economic and social norms would be relatively unchanged for roughly the next few decades.