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Climate Change and Your Mental Health

Learn more about the impacts of climate change on mental health and find resources for support

Climate change can be stressful. Extreme weather can cause health problems, loss (of property, environment, friends, family), isolation, and stress. Witnessing the impacts of climate change through news and social media can also create negative feelings.

In Oregon, youth are reporting climate anxiety more often. Read Oregon Health Authority’s 2022 report called Climate Change and Youth Mental Health

“The effects of climate change on mental health and well-being are not isolated but interact with other social and environmental determinants of health, including race and income. Livelihoods and cultural identities are negatively affected by Oregon’s changing landscapes and will disproportionately affect farmworkers, fishers, tribal and indigenous people. Youth with depression and anxiety are at increased risk for worsening symptoms.”

Oregon Health Authority

Some signs of climate anxiety or grief include an increased sense of hopelessness, anger or frustration; fatalistic thinking; obsessive thoughts; existential dread; guilt or shame related to your own ecological impact; post-traumatic stress; grief and sadness.

Making mental health better

If you or someone you know might be struggling with climate anxiety or feeling burned out by activism or news exposure, help is available. Call the Washington County Crisis line at 503-291-9111 or visit Washington County’s Mental Health: Getting Help webpage.

The Climate Psychology Alliance is an organization helping people cope with the consequences of the climate and ecological crisis by building understanding, offering mental health support, and promoting transformation and adaptation through research and public engagement. Explore their website to learn more about the services they offer.

The Sesame Workshop is a website that offers support for parents on how to support the emotional health and well being of children and youth.

This resource from the Oregon Health Authority offers simple ways you can support youth in building positive mental health and reducing climate anxiety.

This is a detailed report about the connection between climate change and mental health. On page 39, it offers a wide range of valuable tips for supporting individuals and communities.