Mental Health is a growing concern worldwide and interesting research and studies reveal unexpected factors to be causing it. Dr. Joanne Newbury from the Kings College London recently published a journal stating that high air pollution in England and Wales is possibly making British teenagers suffer from psychotic experiences. In 2018, the number of people suffering from mental disorders in the UK was almost 16 million accordingly. Around 3% population from this is aged between 16-17 years.
Studies also reveal that mental health issues begin at 14 years of age. With a number of teenagers facing mental health problems every day is on an increase. It is getting difficult for the government and even the National Health Services (NHS), England to regulate and take necessary measures towards this issue. 80% of mental disorder cases in teenagers remain unattended and only 1% get the required specified care. NHS has received additional funding of £20 billion only to focus on health services and facilities.
Effect On Teenagers
With all the upheaval around mental health issues, discovering that heavy air pollution can make UK teenagers have psychotic experiences. Hence, it is extremely alarming and worrisome for the UK authorities. Teenagers also facing issues like seeing images and hearing voices that are not normal to a human mind. Though Helen Fisher of King’s College London, another author contributing to the study done by Dr. Joanne Newbury, stated that the causation for this psychotic behavior cannot be determined currently, nut kids are facing major mental health issues in the polluted areas of the UK. Moreover, the study involved psychological analysis of almost 2000 teenagers out of which 30% said that they have had a psychotic experience. The location of residence for these kids was mapped with the conclusion that they all resided in the most polluted areas of the UK.
Air Pollution and Mental Illness
Nitrogen dioxide has been found in the maximum quantity in the air pollution samples. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit set by the EU and WHO is 40mcg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter). Even the slightest increase in this amount can imbalance health especially mental health. Studies suggest that a 10mcg/m3 increase in NO2 increased mental health problems in teenagers by 9%. That means almost 12 kids out of 20. Many experiments and studies have been conducted in the past to analyze the association between air pollution and mental illness. Air pollution has been closely associated with autism spectrum disorders and overall development in children.
Even Swedish scientists have studied the detrimental effects of air pollution on children and adolescents through various studies. One of the famous studies demonstrates a comparative study between 433 schools located in the polluted areas of London where the NO2 emissions exceed the EU limits. WHO has time and again warned about the high health hazards caused by air pollution. Thus, there has been a constant increase in early death rates all across the globe.