Climate change drives many people to feel very anxious about their future and the planet. It is based on a 2021 survey involving 10,000 participants (aged 16-25 years). The results showed that 75% of the participants were very nervous about the future due to worsening climate change.

This condition is referred to by experts as eco-anxiety. Describes the chronic fear related to the catastrophe and destruction of this earth as a result of global warming. Unfortunately, eco-anxiety is only one of the mental health problems that arise due to climate change and environmental pollution.

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that climate change has been one of the causes of a number of serious mental health disorders. Among them are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and schizophrenia.

Natural Disasters Cause PTSD

You are certainly aware that natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent these past few years. Starting from floods, landslides, to forest fires which the main cause is global warming. Leaving deep trauma for most of the survivors.

The researchers also concluded that the most common mental health problem among survivors was PTSD. Andrea Waller, a therapist also an expert on marriage and family in San Francisco stated that natural disasters caused by climate change make it difficult for the nerves of the brain to regulate emotions.

This condition causes the survivors to find it difficult to calm down and get stressed easily because they feel that they must always be ready to save themselves. Compounded by their inability to do rehabilitation, stress is then difficult to treat.

Maybe some survivors can overcome the trauma within 6 months. Even so, some of them will continue to have PTSD for years.

Climate Change Triggers Depression

Climate change or global warming has caused extreme weather changes in various countries. This turned out to have an effect on the increasingly high rates of depression worldwide.

Natural disasters that arise due to extreme weather make many people lose their belongings to their family members. There is also the possibility of victims losing their jobs, as well as facilities that support their daily activities.

In addition, carrying out daily activities is increasingly uncomfortable due to worsening air pollution. All of these conditions will increase a person’s chances of experiencing depression.

Global Warming Increases Risk of Mood Disorders

Hot air due to climate change is one of a person’s psychological stressors. A number of studies have found that the air currently feels hotter has increased the risk of schizophrenia and vascular dementia (brain damage from repeated strokes).

Reggie Ferreira, PhD, professor at Tulane University School of Social, reveals that hot temperatures can trigger mood and anxiety disorders, up to the potential for suicide. The high temperature also makes it difficult for a person to cope with the stress they experience. These conditions ultimately increase the risk of mental health disorders.

Waller adds, “Extreme temperatures require a person to be able to regulate both body temperature and mood. When it is difficult to regulate body temperature, it will also be difficult to maintain a stable mood. This then triggers anxiety.”

Maintaining Mental Health While Taking Care of the Earth

Rawan Hamadeh, MSc, partner project coordinator at Project HOPE, said that improving mental resilience is critical to reducing the impact of climate change on mental health. Apply a healthy lifestyle in an effort to face anything in the future.

In this way, we will be able to deepen social relationships, develop a sense of optimism, and be better prepared to face sudden disasters in the future. This will also affect our perspective in caring for this earth.

When we have optimism, we can pass it on to others so that they are willing to work together to overcome the climate change that is happening today. Awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle has also indirectly played a role in supporting a sustainable lifestyle.

(Source: VeryWell Mind)