Climate change is no more a myth, we can see the environment changing around us and this change is also affecting the mental health of humans. The impact of climate change on physical health has been raised but not much attention is given to its effect on mental health. A different term is used by experts, called “Eco-anxiety” which refers to mental stress caused by the climate crisis. There are two ways in which climate change can affect the mental health of people: Direct exposure and indirect exposure.Direct is when a person experiences direct exposure to climate change, something like a disaster. Natural disasters may cause PTSD, anxiety, depression, and stress. Self-harm, including substance abuse and suicidal ideation, may also occur.
For example,events such as tsunami, floods can lead to depression, anger, and even violence.Human psychological health also gets affected because of high temperature.
A report published in “Nature”vocalized about the increased risk of death by suicide and it’s particularly seen among men,which are due to extreme weather caused by climate change. Indirect is when a person doesn’t face any direct exposure to climate crisis but reads or watches in news about a natural disaster or climate emergency.
Climate change can affect our mental health by the way we think about ourselves, each other, and the world. People may experience a decreased sense of self, difficulty associating with others, decline social interaction, and solastalgia (emotional or existential distress caused by environment change). Even children face negative mental health by an increase in the risk of developing PTSD, depression, sleep disorders, attachment disorders, and substance abuse.
Good mental health is very important and here are few ways you can take care of it, in a changing climate:
•Talk about what you feeling: Acknowledge your fear and speak with people whom you are comfortable because letting your feeling out is very important.
•Seek treatment: Be aware of mental health therapy and counseling. Also keep in mind informal means of care such as self-care, spiritual and community-based services
•Take actions: You need to take pre-emptive actions by creating a family and work emergency plans so you feel prepared in the case of an emergency. Take action to reduce climate change.