Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Climate change is hurting kids’ mental health, report finds » Yale Climate Connections

Surviving a hurricane or wildfire can be traumatic. And people who are displaced from their homes may suffer anxiety, PTSD, or depression.

Children are especially vulnerable because they may not have coping skills yet. And they depend on adults, who may be struggling themselves.

Manning: “So they experience those things firsthand, but then they also often are impacted by their parents’ emotional distress at living through that same disaster.”

Christie Manning of Macalester College is co-author of a recent report on climate change and children’s mental health that was released by the American Psychological Association and nonprofit ecoAmerica.

She says even young people who have not directly experienced a disaster may feel anxiety about the climate crisis. They worry about the future and that adults are not taking more action.

So to support kids, the report suggests screening them for distress and improving access to mental health services for young people and families.

Manning: “Parental well-being is really essential to children’s well-being, so communities need to support parents.”

And she recommends engaging kids in climate action so they develop a sense of agency while facing an uncertain future.

Reporting credit: Shannon Young / ChavoBart Digital Media

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