Can climate change worry hurt one’s mental health? That’s what CNN is claiming about “climate anxiety” and also linking to the election of President Donald Trump.
Trump’s “lack of political will” is making “climate anxiety” worse for many people, CNN reported Tuesday, citing experts. One professor claimed a student spent two hours crying after learning about global warming.
“With the Trump election, the change in my students, the sense of grief and fear and paralysis in the room, became palpable,” Wendy Petersen Boring, a gender studies professor at Willamette University, told CNN.
“Climate anxiety is real” and can be managed by taking part in a host of “green” fads, including going vegan with “meatless Mondays,” riding a bike to work and shopping with a re-usable bag instead of a plastic one, CNN reported.
Whether doing any of these would work or not is up for debate, but linking climate change to mental illness is more common among mental health professionals. That’s not surprising given encouragement from the American Psychological Association (APA) and environmental activists to link climate change to people’s mental well-being.
A 69-page guide put out by the APA and environmental group ecoAmerica in 2017 urged mental health professionals to “mobilize climate change discussions” and “bring awareness to the interdependent relation of climate change and mental health.”
“They have the opportunity to help guide our communities on a path of progress through clean, healthy climate solutions,” reads the 2017 guide.
While not used in the guide, the term “climate anxiety” has been used in the media to describe the supposed psychological toll of worrying about global warming. News stories on “climate anxiety” — also called “climate grief” — detail college students crying about dying coral reefs or people holding a “climate change depression” sessions.
More notably, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “young people” are questioning whether or not to have kids because of global warming
On one hand, young people today are bombarded with alarming headlines warning of an unlivable planet because of global warming. For example, reporters for months repeated the debunked warning of only “12 years left” to save the planet.
The United Nations made waves Monday in warning of an imminent ecological crisis and the accelerating collapse of the natural world — the same warnings the international body made in the 1980s.
CNN claimed higher temperatures “have led to more suicides and increased psychiatric hospitalization and have hurt our sleep.”
The APA wants psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to become climate activists. It’s a similar strategy taken by the Obama administration in 2015 when it asked medical doctors to “raise awareness” about global warming.
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