June is Mental Wellness and Resilience Month

#ClimateChangesHealth

Year of Climate Change and Health


"We must not forget that people who are physically affected by climate change will also be suffering from the emotional fallout of what has happened to them...And the psychological damage is not only over what is happening now, but what is likely going to happen in the future." –- Forensic psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren, MD, in Forbes

Climate change not only harms our physical health. It also threatens our mental wellness. Climate events, such as extreme storms or extreme heat, can lead to depression, anger and even violence. Depending on the type of disaster and resulting displacement, climate change can cause and intensify stress and anxiety. It has been reported that between 25 and 50 percent of people exposed to a natural disaster are at risk for mental health effects. The onset of climate change events can adversely impact mental health acutely, gradually and indirectly.

IMPACT CATEGORY CLIMATE EFFECTS MENTAL HEALTH BURDENS
Acute Impacts
(sudden onset)
• Destructive storms
• Floods
• Wildfires
• Extreme heat
• Stress
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Self-harm (substance abuse and suicidal ideation) 
Gradual Impacts 
(long-term conditions)
• Rising temperatures
• Elevated sea levels
• Extreme precipitation
(drought/rainfall)
• Chronic stress from climate consequences
(job loss, displacement)
• Chronic stress from physical health effects
(infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, nutrient deficiencies) 
Indirect Impacts 
(after a climate events)
• Physical damage to communities
• Physical environment degradation
• Diminished sense of self
• Difficulty relating to others
• Diminished social interaction
• Loss of connections to the environment and community
• Violence (domestic violence, child abuse)

(Source: Making the Connection: Climate Changes Mental Health webinar, June 2016)

Although we are all at risk, certain groups are more susceptible to distress and other mental health problems linked to climate change-related exposures. Children, the elderly, women (particularly pregnant women and mothers of newborns), minorities, the poor, the homeless, people with preexisting mental illness and first responders are more vulnerable to negative mental health outcomes. Communities that rely on the natural environment for sustenance and their livelihood are also in danger of adverse mental health consequences, e.g. agricultural workers and indigenous communities. Patients with mental health challenges are especially vulnerable to heat waves.

Download the Mental Wellness Social Media Toolkit (PDF).

Learn more:

From Public Health Newswire:

Building for mental health and resilience: Architects use design to mitigate environmental stressors*

Public health stands firm: APHA Annual Meeting & Expo will rally around climate change*

Climate changes mental health*

Building transformational resilience for climate change*
(*blog posts only represent the views of the author)

View the workshop: Building Mental Wellness and Psychosocial Resilience for Climate Change

Tweet about Mental Wellness and Resilience month.

Follow the conversation using the hashtag #ClimateChangesHealth.

And stay tuned for our Book Club.

YEAR OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH MONTHLY THEMES

Month  Theme
January Introduction to the Year of Climate Change and Health
February Climate Justice and Health
March Clean Energy
April Transportation and Healthy Community Design
May Air Quality, Lung and Heart Health
June Mental Wellness and Resilience
July Agriculture and Food Safety and Security
August Water Quality
September Extreme Weather
October Vulnerable Populations, Focus on Children
November  Tribal and Indigenous Health
December Co-benefits
EVENTS

Year of Climate Change and Health Calendar of Events (PDF) 

Workshop: Building Mental Wellness and Psychosocial Resilience for Climate Change

Have a climate and health event you'd like us to add to the calendar? Please email us

PARTNERS
HELPFUL RESOURCES

Have a resource you'd like us to include? Please email us.

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH ARTICLES
APHA CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY STATEMENTS

Fact sheets on Climate Change

estreme heat

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