Climate change is now recognised as a health emergency. Climate change affects people’s health in multiple ways, through the impacts of bushfires, floods, drought and heatwaves, and can also impact people’s mental health and well-being.
Acknowledging the existential threat of climate change can cause a wide range of psychological responses. These include grief and loss, eco-anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression, and distress and anxiety about the future. These have impacts on public health too, including a decreased quality of life and overwhelmed mental health systems.
There is much emerging evidence about how to build emotional and psychological resilience in the face of these challenges.
This webpage aims to build understanding of the mental health impacts of climate change, and promote ways in which people can build emotional and psychological resilience in the context of climate change.
This report provides a summary of the mental health consequences of climate change in Australia, what we can do to address these, and links to additional resources.
This review assesses the literature related to climate change and mental health across the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) five global research priorities for protecting human health from climate change.
This panel includes expert psychiatrists, psychologists, and researchers on the topic of climate change and mental health. The discussion starts by linking climate change and mental health, and moves to clinical examples that include climate change related mental health issues, and finally points to resources, support and approaches that are available to combat the mental health implications of climate change.
This 2 minute video explains the link between climate change and mental health, explains terms such as eco-anxiety and solastolgia, and points to some of the solutions. It is accompanied by a briefing paper that shows how climate change is negatively affecting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of people around the world. It proposes a detailed set of recommendations to stimulate greater knowledge, awareness and action for all sectors including policy makers, research institutions and mental health practitioners.
This research is the largest and most international survey of climate anxiety in young people to date. It shows that the psychological (emotional, cognitive, social, and functional) burdens of climate change are profoundly affecting huge numbers of young people around the world.
This report chronicles the impacts of climate change on mental health and psychological well-being and provides guidance and resources to act and advocate. The report builds on the celebrated 2017 edition to include the latest research and expanded sections on populations disproportionately impacted, climate anxiety, and a spectrum of solutions.
This article describes how psychological tools developed with Aboriginal people can also support Australian farmers whose land is suffering the effects of climate change.
This article examines the idea of eco-facism, which has been described as “the greening of hate” and broadly applies to the use of ecological rationales to justify the harm, subjugation, or exclusion of minorities. The article explores how extreme cases of climate anxiety can sometimes lead to eco-facism.
This tip sheet outlines a number of adaptive coping strategies, grouped into four categories - behavioural, relational, cognitive, emotional - to provide you with a toolkit of strategies to help you cope with climate change.
This 5 minute video covers some basic aspects of looking after our mental health in response to climate change. It was recorded as part of a project undertaken by Tasmanian students involved in the School Strike for Climate Action in September 2020, when it was shown in classrooms around the state.
This handbook puts forward eight simple but important “best practice” insights from psychological science to help people come to terms and cope with the profound implications of climate change, so that they can stay engaged with the problem, see where their own behaviour plays a part, and participate in speedy societal change to restore a safe climate.
This is a short guide to acting on climate change as a health professional, in your community and as an individual.
This is a half-hour podcast episode with Carol Ride, founder of Psychologists for a Safe Climate, where she talks about the importance of doing inner work and grieving our dying planet in order to act meaningfully on climate change.
* Australian Psychological Society: Climate Change
* Climate Justice Union: Climate Psychology Webinar - Video, Resources and Summary
* Psychology for a Safe Climate: Resources
* The Commons Social Change Library: Resources to Cope with Climate Anxiety and Grief
* Good Grief Network: Resources
* Royal College of Psychiatrists: Eco distress for young people
Thank you to Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation for funding this work.