Breaking the Ice: Exploring the Link Between Glaciers and Mental Well-being


  • Keeya Beausoleil University of Alberta
  • Judy Moon Youreka Edmonton
  • Rowan Mah Youreka Edmonton



glacier, cryosphere, suicide rates, mental health, environmental factors, climate change


Background    Glaciers are integral in maintaining hydrological cycles, moderating oceanic levels, and preserving valuable ecosystems.  Cryospheric regions are often overlooked in evaluating the environmental factors affecting mental health. This study investigates the potential influence of glacial presence and melt behaviour on global mental health, particularly among marginalized communities.

Methods   National suicide rates of general population and specific age categories were gathered from World Health Organization between 2012-19. Glacial data was sourced from the World Glacier Monitoring Service, and Randolph Glacier Inventory. Wilcox testing was conducted to identify mean suicide rates across countries with and without glaciers. Pearson and Spearman correlation testing were employed to identify relationships between melt rate indicators and suicide rates.  

Results    Over the entire eight-year duration, countries with the existence of glaciers revealed a notably higher suicide rate (p-value of 0.0001). Children aged 5-15 years old demonstrated a consistently higher suicide rate amongst countries with glacial bodies (p-value between 0.020-0.037). A positive correlation between regional suicide rates and glacial area was revealed, except in low-latitude countries.  Although melt rate variability showed no significant correlation with suicide statistics, Greenland was the only country to demonstrate a negative relation among all populations.

Conclusions    To address the ongoing impacts of the climate crisis, further research is necessary to develop an inclusive framework that acknowledges the unique challenges faced by communities living in cryospheric regions.  This study is the tip of the iceberg, recognizing the importance of inclusivity in addressing the mental health implications of climate change in these environments.


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How to Cite

Beausoleil, K., Moon, J., & Mah, R. (2023). Breaking the Ice: Exploring the Link Between Glaciers and Mental Well-being . Eureka, 8(2).