Mental health issues from rising sea level in a remote coastal region of the Solomon Islands: current and future

Asugeni, James, MacLaren, David, Massey, Peter D., and Speare, Rick (2015) Mental health issues from rising sea level in a remote coastal region of the Solomon Islands: current and future. Australasian Psychiatry, 23 (6). pp. 22-25.

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Abstract

Objective: There is little published research about mental health and climate change in the Pacific, including Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands has one of the highest rates of sea-level rise globally. The aim of this research was to document mental health issues related to sea-level rise for people in East Malaita, Solomon Islands.

Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out in six low-lying villages in East Malaita, Solomon Islands. The researcher travelled to villages by dugout canoe. In addition to quantitative, closed-ended questions, open-ended questions with villagers explored individual and community responses to rising sea level.

Results: Of 60 people asked, 57 completed the questionnaire. Of these, 90% reported having seen a change in the weather patterns. Nearly all participants reported that sea-level rise is affecting them and their family and is causing fear and worry on a personal and community level. Four themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: experience of physical impacts of climate change; worry about the future; adaptation to climate change; government response needed.

Conclusion: Given predictions of ongoing sea-level rise in the Pacific it is essential that more research is conducted to further understand the human impact of climate change for small island states which will inform local, provincial and national-level mental health responses.

Item ID: 41549
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1665
Keywords: mental health, sea-level rise, Solomon Islands, coastal communities, climate change
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2016 01:49
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111715 Pacific Peoples Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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