Sophia Ryan


  • B.A., Geography, University of Vermont, 2018
  • M.A., Geography, Appalachian State University, 2023

Research Interests

  • Mental Health & Greenspace
  • Climate Change & Mental Health
  • Mental Health Cluster Analysis

Courses Taught

  • GHY 1010: Global Environmental Systems
  • GHY 1040: Human Geography & Social Justice


I received my Masters of Arts in Geography from Appalachian State in May 2023, where I studied the geography of mental health. My work investigates spatiotemporal mental health clusters, the association between greenspace and mental health outcomes among adolescents, and the mental health response following exposure to extreme social (i.e., COVID-19 pandemic) and natural (i.e., Hurricane) stressors. I'm also interested in identifying resilience factors for mental health in relation to climate change.


Ryan, S.C., J.D. Runkle, M. M. Sugg, D. Singh, S. Green, and L. Wertis., (2022) “Spatio-temporal clustering of adolescent bereavement in the United States during the extended response to COVID-19: A follow-up study”. Journal of Adolescent Health. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.08.021 

Ryan, S.C., Runkle, J.D., Andersen, L.M., Sugg, M.M. (2022) “Spatial analysis of mental health and suicide clustering among older adults in North Carolina: An exploratory analysis”. Social Science and Medicine -Mental Health.

Sugg, M.M., Runkle J.D., Ryan, S.C., Singh, D., Green, S., and Thompson, M., (2023) “A follow-up retrospective analysis of essential workers and their children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: 2020 - 2021”. Public Health Reports.

Ryan, S.C., M. M. Sugg, J.D. Runkle and Matthews, J., (2023) “Ecological analysis of greenspace and mental health in North Carolina: Consideration of rural and urban neighborhoods”. Family and Community Health. (Accepted).

Ryan, S.C., Desjardins, M., Runkle, J.D., Wertis, L., Sugg, M.M. (2023) "Evaluating Co-Occurring Space-Time Clusters of Depression and Suicide-Related Outcomes Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic". Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology. (Under Review).

Sugg, M.M., Runkle J.D., Ryan, S.C., and Wertis, L., (2022) “The Causal Effects of Maternal Health and Extreme Disasters: A Difference-In Difference Analysis of the South Carolina 2015 Floods”. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. (Under Review).

Sugg, M.M., Ryan, S.C., Spurlock, T., Hege, A., Chidozie Ogwu, M., Schroeder Tyson, J., Shay, E., Renwick, K., Duncan, S., Hendren, C.O., Runkle, J.D., and R. Manan (2022). "Climate Change and Health in Rural Mountain Environments: Summary of a Workshop on Knowledge Gaps, Barriers, and Opportunities for Action". Climatic Change. (Under Review).

Sugg, M.M., Wertis, L. Ryan, S.C., Green, S., Singh, D., and J.D Runkle, (2023). Cascading Disasters and Mental Health: The February 2021 Winter Storm and Power Crisis in Texas, USA. Science of the Total Environment (Under Review).

Ryan, S.C., Sugg, M.M, Runkle, J.D., Wertis, L., Singh, D., Green, S. and M. Meagher (2023). “Short-term changes in mental health help-seeking behaviors following exposure to multiple social stressors and a natural disaster”. American Journal of Public Health. (Under Review).

Ryan S.C., Sugg, M.M. and J.D. Runkle (2023). “Association between urban greenspace, tree canopy cover and intentional deaths: An exploratory geospatial analysis”. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. (Under Review). 

Title: Lecturer, Mental Health & Greenspace; Climate Change & Mental Health; Mental Health Cluster Analysis
Department: Geography and Planning

Email address: Email me

Office address
Rankin Science West 280


Curriculum Vitaedocument120.97 KB