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Environmental Catastrophe and Mental Health

Warning: this post discusses mental health and suicide.

I want to talk about something that I’ve been thinking about for sometime. I started this blog just before the end of my final year of undergrad and I dove in head-first. I made all of my social media a constant influx of environmental news so that I could remain inspired and up-to-date. But, boy, did that backfire. It turns out that being constantly angry or upset about something is exhausting and not super great for your mental health.

 My masters was very mentally intense and constant barrage of environmental doom-and-gloom has left me feeling slightly apathetic towards it all. I have had to remove anything remotely serious from my sphere of influence. Memes only please. I am working on this blog again, however, which is a good sign.

So, to be a hypocrite about spreading doom-and -gloom, here is some information on the mental health consequences of our current and future environmental circumstances.


Reality:

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more deadly. As you can imagine, this takes a huge toll on a person’s mental health. Losing loved ones or all your earthly possessions will do that to you.

People dealing with these extreme weather events show elevated incidence of anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress. The symptoms of which are often felt long after the event has subsided. Climate change has also been seen to increase suicide rates as a result of extreme weather. People of a lower socio-economic status are the most vulnerable.

A picture of people picking tea

Being prepared for extreme weather events can help reduce the mental health impacts – so if you are at risk, make sure you have proper emergency plans in place or are prepared for the worst events. In the UK, we are relatively insulated from natural disaster but preparation for events such as flooding, heatwaves, or severe winters can help save lives. You can read more about this in my post on climate change here.

With changing climates, extreme weather events are going to become more frequent. And the impacts of mental health more prevalent. If you are struggling with your mental health, you can find some more information here.


The Internet:

While it is hard to not want to do everything in your power to make change, you can solve every problem. I have definitely noticed some changes in myself as a result of just hearing about all the problems in the world. And I am very insulated from the actual effects of climate change.

Humans are not designed to process this amount of tragedy. A few hundred years ago we would have to deal with the stuff that directly affects us. Now, we are expected to be concerned with everything, all the time. It is important to remind yourself that you don’t have to care and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not caring. Obviously, you should care that people are dying etc. you just don’t have to take everything on as ‘you problem’.


Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comments!

Love,

Jessica x

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