Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance

The effects of climate change include direct and indirect impacts on community as well as our mental and physical health, a report from the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health, and ecoAmerica finds. The report, Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance (36 pages, PDF), argues that climate change-induced extreme weather, natural disasters, rising sea levels, food insecurity, and migration can lead to acute mental health impacts, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, as well as chronic mental health issues such as increased aggression and violence, a sense of helplessness or fatalism, and intense feelings of loss. Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the report notes that climate change also can affect personal relationships and interactions in communities through a loss of social identity and cohesion, and that efforts to build resilience must include strengthening the support systems that bolster psychological well-being.