Poor air quality affects mental health in many ways, according to a new review of evidence published led by Kam Bhui
Date Published: 11.07.2023
'Air quality and mental health: evidence, challenges and future directions’ is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Led by our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Kam Bhui, researchers in the UKRI-funded BioAirNet programme, analysed existing studies looking at the effects of both indoor and outdoor air pollution across the life course, from birth and pregnancy, to adolescence and adulthood.
They found evidence that exposure to air pollutants may lead to depression, anxiety, psychoses, and perhaps even neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia. There were also indications that children and adolescents might be exposed to air pollution at critical stages in their mental development making them at risk of the most severe impact and significant future mental health problems.
Additional risk factors included poor housing, over-crowding, poverty, a lack of green spaces as well as individual social and psychological vulnerabilities, such as lack of access to support, carers or safe spaces. 'Air quality and mental health: evidence, challenges and future directions’ is available to read in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Professor Bhui discussed the paper and its findings further in an author interview with Dr Derek Tracy, Editor for Public Engagement at the British Journal of Psychiatry.