How Climate Change Is Impacting Mental Health Down Under
Research on the mental health impacts of climate change is remarkably scarce, which is especially surprising given that depression is already the second leading cause of disability around the world. Much of the research that does exist, has been done Down Under, where a small but dedicated team of researchers has been exploring the mental health implications of Australia’s changing climate.
In a recent article for Grist, Joanne Silberner explores how researchers in Australia are furthering our understanding of how climate change affects people’s psychological well-being. Silberner details how climate change, especially droughts that are becoming more frequent with climate change, are affecting the lives of farmers, who often face devastating losses. For more information about the mental health impacts of climate change, check out ecoAmerica’s latest research report: Beyond Storms and Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change.
Joanne Silberner, Contributor to Grist
About a year ago, I started wondering about the impact of climate change on mental health. After all, depression is already the second leading cause of disability around the world, depression can be kicked off by stress, and watching the ocean inch up to your doorstep or seeing drought destroy your crops and take away your livelihood can be pretty nerve-racking.
I checked the most recent IPCC report. Nothing on mental health. I checked news articles. Nada. I checked the scientific literature, and found a few things, mostly from Australian scientists.
So I headed Down Under, and found a small but dedicated research community. I also found recalcitrant farmers, concerned members of Aboriginal communities, a climate change philosopher, and the beginnings of a new vocabulary.
Image credit: Amelia Bates via Grist