THE COMPOUNDING EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
1. CLIMATE CHANGE THREATS
Climate change impacts—like worsening heat, extreme weather, and poor air quality—affect everyone.
2. MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING IMPACTS
Climate change is associated with depression, stress, anxiety, grief, substance abuse, disempowerment, hopelessness, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other impacts.
3. SYSTEMIC STRESSORS
Systemic racism and gender, economic, and environmental injustice compound with climate change to put some communities at greater risk of mental health harm.
4. SUSCEPTIBLE GROUPS
Communities that are most impacted include: older adults, people experiencing homelessness, pregnant people, low-wealth communities, Indigenous communities, some communities of color, people living with disabilities, and people living with pre-existing illness, gender diverse and LGBTQ persons.
5. CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Climate change is creating new risks and worries for children and adolescents, increasing anxiety around what their future will look like and whether they have the power to shape it.
6. PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Some communities have access to resources that protect them from the stress of climate change, such as safe housing, adequate nutrition and sleep, access to nature and a sense of belonging.
7. BARRIERS TO RESILIENCE
Communities harmed by systemic injustice do not have the same access to buoying economic and social resources.
8. SOLUTIONS TO BUILD RESILIENCE
There are many things that can be done in our schools, communities, and policy choices to foster mental health and well-being. Examples include: accessible, affordable mental health care; equitable access to nature, safe housing and economic resources; opportunities for community and civic engagement; and strong community preparedness and disaster response services.