The Impact of Wildfires on Mental Health: A Scoping Review, a study published on the Behavioral sciences, made an interesting retrospective on mental health and some of its particular implications. An aspect that for a couple of years, that of mental health, has been having a broad resonance basin, also thanks to many characters who have spoken about it openly.
Impact of Wildfires on Mental Health
The researchers explain: "One of the many consequences of climate change is an increase in the frequency, severity, and, thus, impact of wildfires across the globe. The destruction and loss of one's home, belongings, and surrounding community, and the threat to personal safety and the safety of loved ones can have significant consequences on survivors' mental health, which persist for years after.
The objective of this scoping review was to identify primary studies examining the impact of wildfires on mental health and to summarize findings for PTSD , depression, anxiety, and substance use. Literature searches on Pubmed and Embase were conducted in February and April of 2021, respectively, with no date restrictions.
A total of 254 studies were found in the two database searches, with 60 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. Three other studies were identified and included based on relevant in-text citations during data abstraction.
The results show an increased rate of PTSD, depression , and generalized anxiety at several times of follow-up post-wildfire, from the subacute phase, to years after. An increased rate of mental health disorders post-wildfire has been found in both the adult and pediatric population, with a number of associated risk factors, the most significant being characteristics of the wildfire trauma itself.
Several new terms have arisen in the literature secondary to an increased awareness and understanding of the impact of natural disasters on mental health, including ecological grief, solastalgia, and eco-anxiety. There are a number of patient factors and systemic changes that have been identified post-wildfire that can contribute to resilience and recovery."