A mental health crisis looms

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At the time of writing, the COVID-19 Delta stock is a reminder to the world that the pandemic is not over yet. Millions of Australians stranded Infection rates exceed global vaccination efforts.

In the northern hemisphere, destructive record high temperatures in the form of thermal domes recently caused uncontrollable “firebombs”, but unprecedented flooding has disoriented millions of people. Hundreds of lives have been lost due to heat stress, drownings and fires.

Two catastrophic threats, climate change and pandemics, are: Incredible times ”. It’s not surprising. Many Australians find it difficult to cope …

During the first wave of the 2020 pandemic, we collected national data from 5,483 adults across Australia on how climate change is affecting them. mental health .. In our new treaty, Australians are interested in COVID-19, but have been shown to be almost three times more interested in climate change.

But Australians are very worried about climate change. This is not a new discovery. But our research goes further and warns of an impending epidemic of the psyche. Health-related disorders such as environmental anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to climate disasters, and forward-looking hopelessness.

Which Australian is the most worried?

We asked Australians to compare their concerns about climate change, COVID, retirement, health, aging and employment on a four point scale (responses ranging from ‘no problem’ to ‘very problematic’) .

High levels of concern about climate change have been reported among the population, regardless of gender, age or place of residence (urban or rural, disadvantaged or wealthy). Women, young adults, the wealthy and the middle-aged (35-54 years) expressed the highest level of concern about climate change.

The latter (35-54 years) may be particularly worried because they are or will be parents and may be worried about the future of their children.

The strong concerns of young Australians (18-34 years old) are not surprising. Because they inherit the greatest existential crisis facing all generations. This age group has expressed their concern through a number of campaigns including: Friday Force Strike 4 Climate, And some successful procedures.

Of those surveyed in the wealthiest group, 78% reported high levels of anxiety. However, climate change was still very problematic for people outside of this group (42%) compared to concerns related to COVID (27%).

We have also found that many people who have experienced climate-related disasters directly, such as forest fires, floods and extreme heat waves, have reported symptoms consistent with PTSD. This includes repetitive memories of traumatic events, alertness, and easily startling nightmares.

Others have reported severe pre-traumatic and environmental anxiety symptoms. These are repeated nightmares about future trauma, lack of focus, sleeplessness, tears, hopelessness, relationships, and difficulties at work.

Overall, the inevitability of climate threats has been found to limit the ability of Australians to feel more optimistic about the future than anxiety about COVID.

How do people deal with climate concerns?

Our research also provides insight into what people are doing to manage their mental health in the face of the looming threat of climate change.

Many Australians do not seek professional mental health support, such as counselors or psychologists, but rather unique treatments such as the natural environment (67%) and aggressive climate change measures (83%) when doing so. is possible. He said he was prescribing the law himself.

Many recover through personal behavior (such as restricting plastic use), community behavior (such as volunteering), or advocacy to influence and raise awareness. He said he would strengthen his power.

It’s true Our research since the start of this year has shown that environmental volunteers have benefits for mental health, such as improving connectivity with the environment and learning more about the environment.

Ironically, Australians want to be in the natural environment to ease climate anxieties. Events such as the 2019 and 2020 fires have the potential to renew understanding and awareness of the value of nature in improving the quality of life of Australians. Currently, a lot of research shows that green spaces improve psychological well-being.

Imminent fashion

Our study reveals a serious and growing mental health burden for Australians.

This mental health burden may be exacerbated as global temperatures rise and the frequency and severity of climate-related disasters increase. More and more people will suffer from symptoms such as PTSD and environmental anxiety.

A major concern is that people are not seeking professional mental health care to address concerns about climate change. On the contrary, they find their own solution. The lack of effective climate change policies and actions by the Australian government can also contribute to collective desperation.

As written by Harriet Ingle and Michael Mikulewicz, British neuropsychologist and human geographer. Their 2020 treatise: “For many, the grim reality of climate change brings a sense of helplessness to improve the situation, leaving them with an unresolved sense of loss, helplessness and frustration. “

This requires a public health response. Climate change Implemented at individual, community and policy levels. The government must respond to the health sector’s call for an effective climate-related response, to prevent the coming mental health crisis.


Climate change concerns unaffected by pandemics, studies find


This article will be republished from the conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read original work ..

Quote: Australians are three times more worried about climate change than COVID: Looming Mental Health Crisis (August 6, 2021). mental-health.html

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