Poster Explores Connections Between Suicide, Temperature at the 2024 APA Annual Meeting


“Our results indicate that prior assessments significantly underestimated the association between ambient temperature and suicide.”




A poster at the 2024 American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting discussed a recent study conducted in the United States that aimed to reevaluate the relationship between temperature and suicide rates.

According to the study’s researchers, climate change is the biggest public health threat of this century, with prior research finding associations between suicide frequency and higher ambient temperatures across nations. In the United States, research suggests that there is a 0.68% increase in suicides for every 1°C increase in monthly average temperatures.1

Climate change and other environmental factors have also been connected to increased rates of violence, dementia, and autism; increases in prescriptions for psychiatric medications; and significant impacts on psychosis and depression.2

The researchers of the present study noted that prior models of study regarding climate change and suicide have not accurately captured the infrequent and non-linear occurrence of suicide and have overlooked significant social factors in their analysis. As such, the researchers sought to develop a more precise statistical model while also examining potential confounding variables.1

In the study, researchers analyzed suicide data from 1968 to 2004 across the contiguous states, incorporating monthly temperature and precipitation data alongside various sociodemographic factors. These factors included population size, median income (adjusted for inflation), social vulnerability indices such as the percentage of minority populations, single-parent households, and high school education levels. Additionally, at the state level, factors such as air conditioning access and gun prevalence were considered.1

To overcome challenges related to the rarity and non-linear nature of suicide incidence, the study utilized logistic regression to assess if temperature influenced the likelihood of suicides occurring in a county. Furthermore, exponential regression was used to evaluate the impact of temperature on the actual number of suicides.1

Results from the analysis revealed significant associations between temperature and suicide rates. Specifically, for every 1°C increase in monthly temperature, there was a 0.265% rise in suicide risk and a 2.44% increase in the number of suicides. These findings remained robust even after adjusting for sociodemographic variables.1

“The magnitude of the results in our improved model indicates that prior assessments significantly underestimated the association between ambient temperature and suicide,” the researchers concluded. “These data highlight the urgent need to build climate resilience in communities and identify who is most vulnerable to the impact of heat on mental health.”1

The poster was presented by Pranav Jayaraman, MPH, and Joshua Wortzel, MD, MPhil.

The suicide rate in the United States recently reached its highest peak since 1941.3 Are you interested in learning more about the latest research on suicide? See the Psychiatric Times® April cover stories on suicide in the context of various comorbidities and patient populations:

A Year of Record-High Suicide Rates

The suicide rate in the United States recently reached its highest peak since 1941. Here’s what you need to know.

Managing Suicidal Thoughts, Behaviors, and Risk in Treatment-Resistant Depression

Which therapeutic targets are likely to be relevant for reducing risk of suicide in TRD?

Preventing Clinician Suicide

Although the practice of medicine can be immensely rewarding, it also can be extraordinarily stressful. Here’s how we can help prevent clinician suicide.

Stay up-to-date on news related to research on promising new interventions and developments in the treatment of a wide variety of psychiatric disorders at

Note: This article was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT.


1. Jayaraman P, Wortzel J. The association between suicide and temperature in the USA may be even more concerning than previously thought. American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting. Poster presentation. May 6, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024.,%20May%2006,%202024

2. Haase E. Exploring the connections between mental health and our environment. Psychiatric Times. April 22, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024.

3. Kuntz L. A year of record-high suicide rates. Psychiatric Times. April 8, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024.

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