Mental Health and our Changing Climate

Pro Pick!
  • Fairness and accuracy
  • Depth
  • Action orientation

The effects of climate change on mental health are rarely highlighted in textbooks or the media, but it is a major concern, especially for communities disproportionately affected by other environmental injustices. This report is published periodically by the American Psychological Association with the latest version (2021) linked here. Students in my college course on intersectional environmental communication highlighted this resource as the most impactful subject they learned about. Teaching about mental health and climate change is essential for promoting civic responsibility and centering curriculum on equity and inclusion. This report is written in clear language that is easy to assign as readings or develop lectures from. Students will likely personally identify with many of the themes, and therefore instructors should exercise caution in leading discussions to respect student experiences.

Mental Health and our Changing Climate, published by the American Psychological Association and EcoAmerica, provides the latest information on the multiple effects of climate change on mental health, the structural inequities that lead to some populations bearing greater impacts, and how people think about and respond to climate change. It goes on to describe how individuals and communities can strengthen their resilience in the face of climate change and work for climate policies that will lead to a healthier and more just society. This report is produced for layperson audiences, and instructors should read it before deciding whether it is appropriate for students to read directly. The themes within are important for any audience, but the delivery of the topics should be mediated by a skilled instructor.