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With news of climate change increasing dominating our screens, some individuals may feel anxious and guilty about their contribution to global warming. You may be shopping and start questioning your choices about plastic packaging or the need to drive a short distance to shop, as this may concern you about how such actions will impact future generations. This distress and worry about the impact of climate change are called climate anxiety. 

Climate anxiety common in young people 

Climate anxiety is not a mental illness but rather a distress related to concerns about the effects of climate change. Instead, it is the worry that stems from future uncertainty and warns us of the hazards of climate change. Grief, wrath, remorse, and humiliation are common emotions that accompany climate anxiety and can impact mood, behavior, and thought.

Over two-thirds of Americans feel some degree of climate anxiety, according to an American Psychological Association study. According to a survey by The Lancet, 84% of kids and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 are at least somewhat concerned about global warming, and 59% are extremely concerned. This makes logical because young people, especially children, will be disproportionately affected by environmental changes. According to a UNICEF projection from 2021, climate change will put one billion children in “very high danger.” 

Climate change affects the mental health of individuals 

Beyond existential concerns and apprehensions about the future, global warming can have an impact on mental health both directly (via heatwaves or natural disasters) and indirectly (via migration, displacement, and food insecurity). Increasing temperatures may hinder children’s and adolescents’ cognitive development and have been linked to an increase in psychiatric emergency room visits.

The best way to deal with climate anxiety is to act, as it is characterized by uncertainty and a sense of loss of control. On a personal level, talking about your fears and worries with close friends, a therapist, or a support group can be beneficial. You can also alter your way of life to reflect your principles. This can entail cutting back on travel, taking part in a demonstration, or raising understanding about global warming through lobbying.