Purpose of review
In this article, we outline an up-to-date overview of the climate change impact on mental health of urban population, conducted by searching the PubMed database for relevant studies published in the past 12–18 months, in English.
Climate change is part of a larger systemic ecological problem in which human demands are exceeding the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. We are witnessing a ‘climate chaos’, a phase of instability and transformation, which is leading humans into a psychological condition of ‘systemic insecurity’ and a shared feeling of uncertainty. Currently, one of the places where our species is particularly exposed to climate change are cities, due to build-up in urban infrastructure, rapid and chaotic urbanization, high densities and recent rapid growth, social inequality, and ‘heat island effect’.
The impact of climate change on cities exposes vulnerable groups to the worse mental health consequences. These groups include the homelessness, slum dwellers for whom the ‘neighbourhood effects’ are being discussed, climate refugees and migrants, young people, and finally those who assist these people.
In order to realize broader mental health prevention in cities exposed to climate change phenomena, public health approaches are needed. Institutions must avoid reinforcing inequalities among the more vulnerable groups or create new inequalities.