Psychologists try to shrink climate anxiety
It’s Tuesday, November 19, and psychologists around the world are taking on climate anxiety.
Psychologists from more than 40 countries signed a resolution at the first-ever International Summit on Psychology and Global Health in Lisbon last week, pledging to use science and their expertise to fight the climate crisis.
The resolution, which was released on Thursday, acknowledges that climate-related events such as deadly wildfires and powerful hurricanes can lead to major acute and chronic mental health conditions. The signatories promised to increase the services available to minimize these harms. According to the summit’s website, “Psychologists can help to build resilience, foster optimism, cultivate active coping, increase preparedness, and emphasize social connections.”
This isn’t the first time major psychological groups have spoken out about how climate change can harm mental health. The American Psychological Association — one of 43 major psychological associations whose leaders signed last week’s resolution — sponsored a report on mental health and climate change back in 2017. That report helped legitimize the concept of “ecoanxiety,” or the fear of environmental devastation.
“I think increasingly psychologists are connecting [climate change] to the work that they do and the expertise they have, and how that could be helpful,” Arthur Evans, the APA’s chief executive, told Quartz.
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