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Earth Day 2024

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The growing Climate Crisis is having a profound impact on people’s mental health in the form of climate anxiety. Each day, more stories emerge about the effects of climate change. You are not alone if you struggle with anger, frustration, hopelessness or fear when inundated with these messages.

A recent worldwide study of 10,000 people aged 16-25 found that fear and uncertainty caused by the changing climate is a growing concern. (1)

Of those surveyed

84% were moderately worried about climate change

59% were extremely worried

45% said that feelings about climate change negatively impacted their ability to function daily.

However, it is not only young people who are impacted by climate change. A 2022 survey found that 22% of American adults were anxious about climate change. (2)

One of the most significant factors in climate anxiety is the feeling of helplessness. Here are a few strategies for coping:

Get out and enjoy nature: Taking time to enjoy the beauty of nature is an excellent way to ease anxiety and remember why we can’t lose hope. 

Stop doom scrolling: If you find yourself triggered by the news and social media constantly reporting negatively on climate change, take a break a break from them. 

Seek out positive news: Although there is still a lot to do in the fight against climate change, there are many positive news stories from all over the world. Check out Good News Network and Positive News

Get involved: Volunteer with local organizations that work towards a greener future, like Citizens’ Climate Lobby Niagara Region Chapter or Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, etc. Join environmental groups and protests; working together provides purpose and hope. If you can’t find any groups to join, make one! 

Do what you can: Small changes such as reducing plastic use, being more carbon conscious when travelling or eating less meat can give you a greater sense of control.  

Reach out: If you need additional support CMHA Niagara is here for you. 

Works Cited:

(1) Carolyn Hickman, E.M. (2021, December) Climate anxiety in children and young people and their belief about government responses to climate change: a global survey. Lancet Planet Health, Vol.5, e863.

(2) Climate Anxiety: (2024) Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/climateanxiety

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