The health impacts of climate change are being increasingly recognized, but mental health is often excluded from this discussion. In this issue we feature a collection of articles on climate change and mental health that highlight important directions for future research.
Mental health is often excluded from discussions of the health impacts of climate change. In this collection we feature pieces that explore different ways in which climate change can impact mental health across different levels of inquiry, from the individual to population level, and different groups that may be impacted, including those with particularly strong ties to the natural environment like the Canadian Inuit and Australian Wheatbelt farmers, those with pre-existing risk factors, the general public, and climate scientists.
Awareness of the threats to mental health posed by climate change leads to questions about the potential impacts on climate scientists because they are immersed in depressing information and may face apathy, denial and even hostility from others. But they also have sources of resilience.
Climate change has a gradual influence on landscapes and ecosystems that may lead to feelings of loss for those with close ties to the natural environment. This Perspective describes existing research on ecological grief and outlines directions for future inquiry.
This Perspective reviews the literature on climate change and mental health, and advocates for a systems approach, which considers the complex set of interacting distal, intermediate and proximate factors that influence mental health risk, in future research.