Mental Health & Climate Change

Eco-Anxiety, or Climate Change Anxiety, or Eco-Grief is a diagnosis defined by the APA as, ‘the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one’s future and that of next generations’.

Eco-Anxiety is growing among children and teens – and they know it.

A January, 2024, article in the Minnesota Reformer – Minnesota Mental Health Professionals Say Climate Concerns Driving Patients to Depression (Christopher Ingraham, January 04, 2024) – inspired providing a break=out session on Children and Tens Mental Health and Eco-Anxiety at the 2024 EcoFaith Summit in Duluth.

It also inspired our Eco-Anxiety Toolkit, which includes:

  • basic data and definitions
  • tips for parents of both children and teens
  • resources for clergy, leaders, and congregations
  • community awareness building
  • Indigenous Wisdom
  • Intersectional Justice as an Antidote
  • pastoral care/spiritual direction tools
  • Spiritual Practices
  • Worship & Prayer elements

Can your congregation become a place for young people to process complex emotions and develop resilience and hope by participating – with adults who are passionate about climate care – in taking action to mitigate damage and restore health to all?

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, author Amy Houts, on the Blessed Tomorrow blog, shared, Why Reading Books on Climate Change are Important for Children (AMY HOUTS; May 9, 2024).

Amy writes, ‘It’s important to read books on climate change to children. Why? Climate change is already happening and impacting children. Children can see it in their everyday lives… Children’s books explain complicated issues using developmentally appropriate text and illustrations …[and make] the subject easier to think about and maybe a little less overwhelming. It is important that children’s books provide climate solutions with ideas for taking action in addition to climate facts and impacts. Being part of collective action makes climate change less frightening and supports children’s mental health.

The article links to:

We’ve added Houts’ post to our Eco-Anxiety Toolkit, which we will continue to update.

Blessings as you endeavor to become a more anxiety-aware and healing space for children, youth, and all ages – particularly in the area of Eco-Anxiety.