Clean Water and Mental Health
By Ashwath Krishnan
It is common knowledge that a lack of healthy and clean water is going to be detrimental to one’s physical health, due to the simple fact that we all require water to survive. However, what many people do not realize is that the adverse effects of dirty water go way beyond physical well-being alone. An individual’s mental health is affected just as greatly by water scarcity and can have just as severe of a negative impact. If an individual is not hydrated enough, their body will not be able to receive the necessary amount of the amino acid tryptophan, which is what creates serotonin.
the Link between Serotonin and Mental Health Issues
A lack of serotonin is the driving factor behind many common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and raised levels of stress. These issues can further develop into other problems such as irritability and insomnia, combined with desperation, malnutrition, and famine. The most unfortunate part behind this is that for individuals around the world who deal with these problems, no solution is immediately presented. This results in a decline of these people’s mental state, which has dire consequences ranging from a lack of ability to provide for their families all the way to thoughts of self harm. These are rather eye-opening results which paint a harsh reality of the true impact the lack of clean water truly has. This is why it is important that in order for us to combat and find a solution to the water crisis, we must first understand that its impact is not just physical, but is just as much mental.
The Impact of Water Scarcity on Women's Mental Health
The link between water and mental health has been shown to affect different groups of people differently as well. For example, women’s mental state of being is shown to be highly affected by a lack of water. This is due to the fact that women are the ones who are asked to shoulder the burden of finding clean and healthy water for their families. Women altogether on average have been reported to spend over 200 million hours collecting water each and every day (water.org). This places a higher amount of stress, anxiety, and frustration upon an already difficult situation for the women that go looking for the water. Not being able to find the necessary sources of water also raises the chance of depression and insomnia for the women involved, which have the potential to lead to severe mental as well as physical health complications.
Water Scarcity on Children and the Elderly's Mental Health
Other groups of people whose mental health is significantly impacted by water scarcity are children, as well as elderly folks. These two groups can be categorized as rather similar, as both their bodies require the correct amount of nutrition in order to grow (for children) and age (for the elderly) properly. Not receiving the necessary amount of hydration on a regular basis can lead to many of the aforementioned issues such as anxiety, depression, irritability, but on a larger scale due to the importance of proper nutrition at these ages. These mental health problems induced by the lack of drinking water will worsen, and eventually lead to severely negative physical health and illness conditions due to the vulnerable nature of children as well as the elderly folks. Thus, it is easy to see not only how dirty water can result in a lack of a peace of mind, but also how it can directly lead to worsening physical health as well.
The Impact of Hot Climates on Mental Health in Water-Scarce Areas
Another common link between mental health and the lack of water is the weather. Recent studies have shown that extremely hot temperatures can lead to a worsened mental state, specifically in aforementioned vulnerable groups such as elderly folks and young children. In extremely hot climates, the risk for mental issues rises dramatically in an area without an abundance of clean water due to the struggle from the lack of water to cope with the heat. These “climate related exposures were associated with psychological distress, worsened mental health, and higher mortality among people with pre-existing mental health conditions and increased psychiatric hospitalizations, scientists wrote last year” (Aexios).
When people are left without a proper way to hydrate themselves and consume necessary nutrients, it provides leeway for many other issues to arise. Especially when the weather is rather hot and humid, it results in people becoming exponentially more uncomfortable physically, mentally, and emotionally than they already were, thus worsening any mental conditions that might have already been present. Think of it this way: if someone was to have a few different health complications but was denied medicine/treatment for the most serious one, it would obviously have a negative impact on the rest of their health related problems. This ideology is applicable to this situation as without the primary nutrients and medicine required for a healthy mind, many individuals fall victim to the mental health issues they were already plagued by.
Combatting Water Scarcity: A Feasible Solution with Aquatabs
It has clearly been established that clean water correlates directly with a positive state of mind, and the lack of clean water is linked to many mental health issues that have the potential to significantly impact other parts of an affected individual’s livelihood. So what can be done here to fix this issue? Let’s think about what we already have in place. Many people who are unable to receive proper hydration due to water scarcity do have sources of water, but those sources simply aren’t guaranteed to be clean.
Consumption of dirty drinking water can lead to many serious consequences and can serve as a medium of facilitation for many issues such as bacterial and parasitic infections or viruses. This results in many people being unable to utilize the water resources they do have, and are forced to go in search of water they know is clean. This may seem like an impossible issue to solve, but believe it or not there is a rather simple yet efficient and feasible fix. Aquatabs, the worlds #1 ranked water purification tablets that fit right in your palm and can be added to drinking water to kill any harmful substances that may be inside and provide a means to obtain clean water.
Aquatabs were engineered and specifically designed with water scarcity in mind, and have been tested to reduce 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.9% of giardia cysts from any source of freshwater. Being able to provide these purification tablets to millions worldwide would mean that people would be able to make use of every available source of water. At Aquatabs, we recognize that mental health is a broad issue without one specific solution. We hope to provide a product which acts as liason between people and clean water, in hopes to improve the quality of life for people across the world.