The climate and ecological crisis – a call to action for psychiatrists

Free Members’ Webinar

Thursday 26 October 2023


The purpose of the webinar was to cover a range of types of activism from advocacy through to non violent direct action with specific reference to mental health and the role of psychiatrists.


  • Introduction from Chair - Sue Crimlisk, consultant psychiatrist
  • 'State of the climate and need to act' - Francis Bennett, trainee psychiatrist
  • 'Activism and its history' - Lynne Jones, consultant psychiatrist
  • 'Non violent direct action: examples' - Tom Nutting, trainee psychiatrist
  • 'Actions the RCPsych has taken and what more is there to do?' - Kirsten Shukla, consultant
  • Q&A


Sue Crimlisk

I have been a Consultant in CAMHS-Learning Disability in South Gloucestershire for 13 years having completed my higher CAMHS training in London and then Bristol. I have been very concerned about the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) since 2018. This prompted me to take part in several creative (non-arrestable) protests as part of Extinction Rebellion and other groups between 2019-2023.

I joined the Psychiatry activist group “Psych-Declares” in 2019 because I was also keen to use my role as a Psychiatrist to raise awareness about the impact of the CEE on mental health. I have worked with others to make submissions to Conferences on mental health and the climate crisis and supported petitions and other actions.

I also co-run a national climate choir which invites members of the public to learn songs in order to take part in protests - mostly aimed at the worst culprits in the financial sector who are dedicated to fossil fuel extraction projects. This is community-building, peaceful and fun.

Please go to to find out more.

Francis Bennett

Francis recently finished core training in psychiatry, and is applying for higher training in CAMHS.

He first became interested in climate activism aged 17 at a school screening of ‘The Age of Stupid’- where a future archivist looks at old footage from the year 2008 to understand why humankind failed to address the climate crisis.

More recently he has been an active member of Medact, who campaign on the basic premise of “health workers for health justice”. In Bristol the group has organised mainly around local issues related to the climate and ecological crises- opposing expansion of Bristol airport, improving air quality and supporting other climate activists by offering a healthcare perspective.

Lynne Jones

Dr Lynne Jones OBE, FRCPsych is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, writer, researcher, relief worker and climate activist.

Jones has been engaged in assessing mental health needs and establishing and running mental health services in disaster, conflict, and post-conflict settings around the world since 1990. Until August 2011, she was the senior technical advisor in mental health for International Medical Corps.

She is an honorary associate professor at the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is also a course director for the program on Mental Health in Complex Emergencies at the International Institute for Humanitarian Affairs, Fordham University, and consults to the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNHCR. Her work has allowed her to witness first hand the devastating impacts of the climate and ecological emergencies and the need for actions of all kinds to address it.

Her books include: 'The Migrant Diaries', (Refuge Press in 2021) about her work with migrants in Europe and Central America; 'Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry' (Wiedenfeld and Nicolson 2018), which explores her experience as a practicing psychiatrist in war and disaster zones. 'Then They Started Shooting: Children of the Bosnian War and the Adults They Become' (Bellevue Literary Press, 2013) is a long-term exploration of the impact of war on children.

She has a PhD in social psychology and political science. In 2001, she was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for her mental health work in conflict-affected areas of Central Europe.

Tom Nutting

Tom is an ST4 general adult psychiatrist currently working in Recovery in Bristol. In his trust he is the medical education fellow in coproduction and he has recently accepted the Royal College of Psychiatrists role of Green Scholar on their Planetary Health and Sustainability Committee.

He is currently conducting qualitative research in horticultural therapy and is a keen gardener. He supports climate activist groups PsychDeclares, Extinction Rebellion for Health, Greenpeace, and Just Stop Oil.

Kirsten Shukla

Kirsten is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who has graduated in Germany but lived and worked in the UK since 1995.

Kirsten has been founding member of PsychDeclares together with other concerned psychiatrists in the UK in 2019 and the group has been meeting every month since.

She has been part of a task force on climate and mental health within the German Psychiatric Association and in 2022 helped writing their position statement on climate.

Kirsten recently completed a diploma in Eco-Psychotherapy and wrote a thesis on what ecological psychiatry could look like.

She is member of Health for Extinction Rebellion as well as the Planetary Health and Sustainability Committee at The Royal College of Psychiatrists.



View a list of resources shared by the speakers and attendees in the meeting chat

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