‘Climate change becomes a matter of mental health’
'Its effects – present and future – weigh heavy on many in Maine. The remedy for that anxiety, according to some researchers: action.'
As world temperatures go up, rates of violence are expected to go up. Even the threat of climate change creates emotional distress and anxiety, researchers found.
With that comes fear, despair, a sense of being overwhelmed or powerless. From there, the path diverges. For some, being overwhelmed inhibits “thought and action” and the next step is denial, paralysis, apathy.
She’s willing to take action, but after that hailstorm, she found herself in what could be described as a heightened state of anxiety about climate change.
Despair can lead to anxiety disorders, depression, sleeping disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, increasing vulnerability for those who already have severe mental health issues and even higher rates of suicide attempts. Studies of Australian farmers’ responses to drought conditions contributed to the suicide findings.
Climate insecurity is “on the radar of a larger and larger percentage of people I see,” McLaughlin said. He starts by making sure they understand that they are not alone, that this is a mental health issue that is already affecting many people and will affect more and more as the years go on – short of a miracle whereby climate change is stopped.