Climate Anxiety

What is it?

Climate Anxiety is a growing issue with many people concerned and worried about what the future holds.

Officially defined as "a chronic fear of environmental doom", Climate Anxiety levels are on the rise, particularly in young people who worry what their future will look like due to climate change. In 2021 Avaaz funded the biggest ever survey into  Climate Anxiety and found that 95% of young people were worried about the climate. Avaaz wrote up a briefing paper on this survey and more generally on the subject of Climate Anxiety, it can be found here and is an excellent read.

Helpful Resources

EAUC-Scotland has worked on Climate Anxiety and Mental Health issues for several years with a range of experts and all of the resources and findings are collated on this page.
We would encourage anyone who feels anxious about the climate crisis to watch esteemed Psychotherapist Ro Randall’s series of short talks on appreciating this anxiety and working through it.

Coping with the climate crisis:
1. Disavowal or everyday denial
2. Climate stress and anxiety
3. Loss and grief
4. Supporting Others
5. Climate journeys
6. Hope and despair

There is also a full guide on "Living with Worry and Anxiety" available free from Psychology Tools. This is a very useful guide that covers all aspects of anxiety and worry clearly and concisely.

For those who work with younger children the Climate Psychology Alliance has produced a guide on Climate Change Communication with Children.

A number of ways we can support young people experiencing climate anxiety within colleges are laid out in this blog from FE jobs, Eco-anxiety-What can colleges do

Depression and Suicide

Sadly, depression and suicide due to Climate Anxiety are not unheard of. If you think someone is having suicidal thoughts, talk to them about it. Asking them if they’re considering hurting themselves or committing suicide won’t make it happen, but it may release the pent-up strain of the pain they feel and open them up to seek help.

Further Training and Support on Climate Anxiety and Mental Health

There is an organisation called Climate Psychology Alliance that are experts in the psychology of this issue. They operate across the UK and are available to speak and give advice on this issue. They also run regular events that are open to all, these can be found on their website.

It can be very difficult to help people who are struggling, even if you understand the issue. Scottish Mental Health First Aid is a great course that gives people the skills to aid those who are struggling. This is a great course for people like student counsellors or staff who regularly support others and want more practical skills. You can also access Silvercloud free through many institutions. Silvercloud runs digital mental health programmes for all types of people.

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. Empowering students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change. 
Delivered by EAUC