MENTAL HEALTH AND OUR CHANGING CLIMATE. Excerpts from an A.P.A. report first published in 2017. The passing of time is proving these insights true..
” It is time to expand information and action on climate and health, including mental health. The health, economic, political, and environmental implications of climate change affect all of us. The tolls on our mental health are far reaching. They induce stress, depression, and anxiety; strain social and community relationships; and have been linked to increases in aggression, violence, and crime. Children and communities with few resources to deal with the impacts of climate change are those most impacted “
” Children’s fears about climate change revolve around known and mysterious future effects. Direct experience with natural disasters can cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including panic symptoms, nightmares, and phobic behavior. For example, some pre-school children who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy developed a phobic avoidance of rain, waves, and thunder that generalized to panic about getting in bathtubs, going to school (which they feared might flood), and going to swimming lessons. ” (Page 36)
“ Climate change is no longer a distant, unimaginable threat; it is a growing reality for communities across the globe. Recognizing the risk, many local governments in the United States (as well as other places around the world) have created preparation or adaptation plans for shoring up physical infrastructure to withstand new weather and temperature extremes.” (Page 40)
“ Each day, our world devolves more quickly toward disruption from climate change. The news is coming at us from all sides— CO2 emissions climbing, record-high temperatures, oceans increasingly acidifying, coral reefs dying, ice sheets melting, failing nations, the massive displacement of people. Those least responsible for the crisis will be hurt the most—the poor, the elderly, the disabled, the emotionally vulnerable. The psychological toll is becoming more apparent—but much is being overlooked.” Lise Van Susteren, MD (Page 57)