While the physical risks of climate change are well-known, the potential impact on people’s mental health has received less attention.
Dr Marc Williams, a clinical psychologist at Cardiff University, has recently published a paper suggesting a correlation between web searches about climate change and terms relating to mental health and said more research was needed to understand ‘what the experience is like and how to help’.
‘It’s not something I believe we should try to pathologize. Climate anxiety, or eco anxiety as some refer to it, is a natural reaction to a real situation.’
‘The government should not see this as a problem that only affects young people; the other way to actually combat climate anxiety is to address climate change,’ he said.
People’s attitudes toward climate change have shifted dramatically in recent years, according to regular surveys conducted by Cardiff University’s school of psychology, with 40% of those polled across the UK now saying they are ‘very or extremely concerned.’ A third said it made them feel anxious, afraid, or outraged.