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Linking Climate Change and Mental Health

We know from evidence that joining with others and talking about your feelings around climate change and around the negative feelings that you're having, has really positive effects on mental health. Being part of a group builds trust, care, and a sense of belonging.” – Melanie Powell

Evidence shows that after experiencing sudden or chronic weather events, affected individuals and communities are at a high risk of developing short or long-term anxiety disorders. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are at the forefront of climate change across the world and they continue to support those who are highly impacted by these extreme weather events.

The PS Centre was recently involved in an IFRC Red Talk and produced a Heartbeat of Humanity podcast episode to shed light on the importance of mental health in the context of climate change.

IFRC Red Talk

As warnings of floods, heatwaves and droughts increase worldwide, people who are both directly and indirectly impacted feel more anxious about the unknown. According to PS Centre Technical Advisor, Melanie Powell, such feelings are normal and natural when we think about the climate crisis.

Melanie participated in the IFRC Red Talk on How to Deal with Climate Anxiety with IFRC Communications Officer, Léa Salwan, and Roop Singh, Climate Risk Advisor at Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. In this Red Talk, Melanie categorizes and normalizes common reactions to climate change-related events such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves. Although thoughts around climate change can feel overwhelming, Melanie emphasizes that there are several ways to cope with such negative emotions, including support groups and networks.

Heartbeat of Humanity: Mental Health and Climate Change

The changing climate is placing such an emotional, cognitive and physical burden on humanitarian practitioners and our partners that we need to understand how to deal with this. Everything from tools for relaxation to noticing how to help others and yourself when things are about to change.

PS Centre Technical Advisor Ea Suzanne Akasha interviews Pablo Suarez, Associate Director for Research and Innovation at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre about the link between climate change and mental health and psychosocial support.

In the podcast, several resources are mentioned:

The podcast Heartbeat of Humanity is about mental health and psychosocial support.

The podcast is mainly for staff and volunteers in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, especially staff and volunteers working in mental health and psychosocial support services.

Listen to the podcast here or subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast or wherever you find your podcasts.

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