Copyright ©The Author(s) 2024. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatry. Feb 19, 2024; 14(2): 204-209
Published online Feb 19, 2024. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v14.i2.204
Climate change, ambient air pollution, and students' mental health
Jing-Xuan Wang, Xin-Qiao Liu
Jing-Xuan Wang, Xin-Qiao Liu, School of Education, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300350, China
Author contributions: Liu XQ designed the study, and Liu XQ and Wang JX wrote the manuscript; All the authors contributed equally to this work and have approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Xin-Qiao Liu, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Education, Tianjin University, No. 135 Yaguan Road, Jinnan District, Tianjin 300350, China. xinqiaoliu@pku.edu.cn
Received: November 29, 2023
Peer-review started: November 30, 2023
First decision: December 23, 2023
Revised: December 29, 2023
Accepted: January 23, 2024
Article in press: January 23, 2024
Published online: February 19, 2024

The impact of global climate change and air pollution on mental health has become a crucial public health issue. Increased public awareness of health, advancements in medical diagnosis and treatment, the way media outlets report environmental changes and the variation in social resources affect psychological responses and adaptation methods to climate change and air pollution. In the context of climate change, extreme weather events seriously disrupt people's living environments, and unstable educational environments lead to an increase in mental health issues for students. Air pollution affects students' mental health by increasing the incidence of diseases while decreasing contact with nature, leading to problems such as anxiety, depression, and decreased cognitive function. We call for joint efforts to reduce pollutant emissions at the source, improve energy structures, strengthen environmental monitoring and gover-nance, increase attention to the mental health issues of students, and help student groups build resilience; by establishing public policies, enhancing social support and adjusting lifestyles and habits, we can help students cope with the constantly changing environment and maintain a good level of mental health. Through these comprehensive measures, we can more effectively address the challenges of global climate change and air pollution and promote the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Keywords: Climate change, Ambient air pollution, Mental health, Energy structure, Public policy, Sustainable development

Core Tip: Global climate change and air pollution are becoming increasingly important issues in the field of public health and are exerting complex impacts on mental well-being. Extreme climate events and air pollution not only disrupt living environments, triggering the emergence of psychological conditions such as "ecological anxiety" but also exacerbate anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems. In response to this challenge, nations should begin to reduce pollutant emissions and improve energy structures, and society needs to strengthen environmental regulations and establish supportive public policies. Additionally, individuals should maintain good mental health and collectively contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.