While many people are aware that climate change is having a damaging effect on our environment, fewer are aware of the mental health impacts it is having on society. In fact, the relationship between climate change and mental health is actually quite profound.
Understanding how climate change is impacting our mental states can provide one with a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how climate change is affecting us all.
Here is the unrecognized link between climate change and mental health.
Climate Change Can Cause Distress and Anxiety
For those who are unaware or uninterested in climate change, it may not have a direct impact on one’s mental health state. However, for those who explore the topic and understand the dire consequences that can come as a result of climate change going unresolved, it can be an extreme stressor.
By being exposed to the disheartening amount of harm that climate change can, and currently is, having on the world, people are prone to experiencing chronic stress, anxiety, and, in some cases, even depression. This highlights the fact that climate change and its implications have a directly negative impact on mental health states for those who explore the increasingly important topic.
Climate Change Can Fracture Relationships and Cause Discord
Over the last several decades, climate change has somehow become a political topic. In addition, people’s views on climate change are perceived as a political allegiance of some sort. This being the case, varying views on climate change have the power to fracture relationships and cause discord among communities.
Those familiar with psychology and mental health issues know that relationships play a key role in developing and maintaining good mental health. Given the fact climate change has the ability to put strain on relationships, it’s clear that it has the power to negatively impact one’s mental health state. As such, climate change can be a key source of tension and difficulty that can have an adverse effect on our mental health.
Climate Change Can Displace People and Harm Their Environments
While some individuals and communities only experience climate change in mild ways, others are directly impacted by it. For those in certain communities and regions, natural disasters caused by climate change, such as rising sea levels, can change one’s environment completely.
For some, their homes are destroyed by natural disasters causing them to be displaced. For these individuals, climate change can easily cause a slew of severe mental ailments that are difficult to overcome. Consequently, climate change can have a profoundly negative impact on the mental health states of those directly impacted by it.
Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change
Though the mental health consequences of climate change can be difficult, there are ways to lessen the strain. Namely, engaging in practices that help combat climate change can help people lighten their mental health burdens and find some respite. Here are some ways that people can find hope in the face of climate change.
Believe it or not, food actually has a strong relationship with climate change in keyways. Specifically, the production of certain types of food, such as beef, and certain agricultural practices, such as the use of fossil fuels, can greatly harm the environment and contribute to climate change.
Thankfully, eating sustainably can help combat these trends and heal the environment. As such, engaging in sustainable eating habits has the power to help people find hope and lessen negative mental health impacts in the face of climate change.
Utilizing Renewable Energy Sources
Greenhouse gases and fossil fuels play critical roles in climate change and have been shown to be harmful to the environment. Unfortunately, many of us utilize these energy sources regularly which can contribute to our climate change-related mental health issues and experiences of guilt.
Fortunately, there is a key solution to this problem that can help both the environment and our mental health. Utilizing renewable energy sources, such as in the cases of solar-powered homes and electric vehicles, can make a positive impact on the environment. By investing in these sources of energy, we can lessen the mental strain that comes with contributing to climate change.
Climate Change Is Impacting More Than the Environment
While climate change is definitely wreaking havoc on our environment, it is also having a harmful impact on our mental health. From fracturing relationships to causing stress, it’s important to recognize the significant effect climate change is having on people’s minds. Hopefully, as time goes on and more people engage in sustainable practices, the disheartening burden of climate change will be mitigated on both our environments and our mental health states.