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Climate change taking its toll on mental health

Feeling Anxious About Climate Change? Therapists Say You’re Not Alone

There’s no official clinical diagnosis, but the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon of worrying about the Earth’s fate: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety”, People, By Victoria Knight , July 15, 2019 

Therapist Andrew Bryant says the landmark United Nations climate reportlast October brought a new mental health concern to his patients.

“I remember being in sessions with folks the next day. They had never mentioned climate change before, and they were like, ‘I keep hearing about this report,’” Bryant said. “Some of them expressed anxious feelings, and we kept talking about it over our next sessions.”

The study, conducted by the world’s leading climate scientists, said that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, by 2040 the Earth will warm by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius). Predictions say that increase in temperature will cause extreme weather events, rising sea levels, species extinction and reduced capacity to produce food.

Bryant works at North Seattle Therapy & Counseling in Washington state. Recently, he said, he has been seeing patients with anxiety or depression related to climate change and the Earth’s future.

Often these patients want to do something to reduce global warming but are overwhelmed and depressed by the scope of the problem and difficulty in finding solutions. And they’re anxious about how the Earth will change over the rest of their or their children’s lifetimes.

Although it is not an official clinical diagnosis, the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety.”

The concept also is gradually making its way into the public consciousness.

In a June 23 episode of the HBO series Big Little Lies, one of the main character’s young daughters has a panic attack after hearing about climate change in school. And other recently released TV shows and movies have addressed the idea.

An April survey by Yale and George Mason universities found that 62% of Americans were at least “somewhat worried” about climate change. Of those, 23% were “very worried.”

Both younger and older generations express worry, although younger Americans generally seem more concerned: A 2019 Gallup poll reported that 54% of those ages 18 to 34, 38% of those 35 to 54 and 44% of those 55 or older worry a “great deal” about global warming.

There is no epidemiological data yet to show how common distress or anxiety related to climate change is. But, people say these feelings are real and affect their life decisions.

Los Angeles residents Mary Dacuma, 33, and her husband decided not to have children because they worry about how difficult the world might be for the next generation. ……..https://people.com/health/climate-change-anxiety-affecting-americans-mental-health/

July 15, 2019 - Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health, World

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