Climate change, and the lack of aggressive action to limit the heating of the planet, is causing mental health crises in the U.S. and around the world, the Arizona Republic reports. Stress related to climate change affects close to half (47%) of Americans 18 to 34, and 57% of teenagers. The detrimental mental health impacts can be related to acute events, such as hurricanes and wildfires, as well as what mental health professionals call “anticipatory grief” for the damaged world children will inherit. Research has linked climate change to increased rates of suicide and depression in Inuit communities in the Arctic, and widespread existential anxiety in Maldivian children.
“We can learn a bit from the literature on environmental disasters, where we see there are clear linkages with PTSD and other traumatic responses,” Sabrina Helm, who grew up “mortally afraid of nuclear disasters” as a child in Cold War Germany, told The Republic. “I was convinced when I was 15 that I would probably not reach adulthood. It was constantly in the news. It was so threatening. It’s exactly what we see now with climate change.” (Arizona Republic)