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The rise of climate change is known to have negative impacts on the planet’s biodiversity, and as of late, severe weather events have struck Australia. With the severe drought that brought in massive bushfires onto the states of Victoria and New South Wales which burned more than 11 million hectares of land, followed by 391.6mm of rain falling within four days that later caused flash floods in Sydney, there is no doubt that the global warming crisis is a cause for concern. However, the impacts of this crisis may take a step further to affect the mental health of people all around the globe. Such a reaction is termed “eco-anxiety”. A study in the UK has found that people are 50% more likely to be prone to climate anxiety - and its side effects such as depression and stress - if exposed first-hand to extreme weather events caused by climate change.
Dr Patrick Kennedy Williams, a clinical psychologist who has treated patients with common mental health issues, was reached out by fellow climate researchers for help. Within the research, the clinical psychologist was shocked to discover that young children were induced with high levels of eco-anxiety, and parents have begun to grow wary of their children’s mental wellbeing. “What I was most surprised by is how young the awareness and anxiety starts. My own daughter was just six when she came to me and said: ‘Daddy, are we winning the war against climate change?’ and I was just flummoxed by that question in the moment,” Kennedy-Williams told The Guardian. Williams argued that it is impossible to hide reality from the eyes of the youth, and “realised [that] the cure to climate anxiety is the same as the cure for climate change – action. It is about getting out and doing something that helps.”
Fortunately, a member of the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK, Professor Mike Wang, has come forward to address the issue of eco-anxiety. “Psychologists are ready and willing to help countries protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens given the inevitable social and psychological consequences of climate change,” declared Professor Mike Wang.
Furthermore, the psychologist’s initiative to eliminate eco-anxiety has opened the eyes of experts all over the world, leading to collaborations and high research developments that aim to reduce the growing cases of eco-anxiety and treat those who suffer from it.
To learn more about the effects of climate change across Australia, be sure to click https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/australia-weather-climate-the-south-pacific-weather-climate-topics
©2020 Weather Forecaster Caitlyn Rusli