The eco crisis and CAMHS resources

Our children and young people are going to be most affected by the eco-crisis. They need us all to do what we can. As trusted medical professionals our voice is hugely influential. This crisis brings with it threat, but also opportunity, and the chance to re-imagine what we do to tackle existing inequalities and inefficiencies.

There are many ways to get involved, whether you have a few minutes to spare, or want to commit more time and energy. This resource page has been collated to provide you with more information and offers links to find out more about various aspects of this work.

Greener CAMHS workstream

We are members of the CAP Faculty who are concerned about the degradation of the natural world and the impact on children and young people. Sharing values of social justice, participation and holistic care, we want to change our practice to benefit people and planet.

Please email Dr Catriona Mellor or Dr Nick Barnes if you are interested in joining us, to simply keep up with events, or to get more actively involved.  We will use your email address to invite you to meetings and for updates of the work we are doing.  Let us know if you’d like to be part of a Signal group for sharing of resources and practices and if so please also email your telephone number. Greener CAMHS next meeting: Early April 2021.

More information about Greener CAMHS group

Current priority areas of action
  • Support RCPsych to declare Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE)
  • Working with youth advocates to hear from a diverse range of YP 
  • Preparation for a symposium on the impact of eco-crisis on CYP mental health for COP26
  • Curriculum development
  • Nature based practice: pilots, evaluations, networks and resources
  • Sustainable CAMHS Services
I have a few minutes to spare, and am not yet engaged in actively making significant changes:

  • Take a breath and write down a commitment to yourself: Whatever you care most deeply about, will be affected by this crisis. Commit to finding out how. 
  • Decide to get more engaged. Decide to start noticing how you ‘turn away’ from news of the crisis and turn away from opportunities to get engaged. Decide to be curious. When someone raises the issues be a supportive voice and ask questions to learn more. 
  • Commit to taking one action at work this month. 
  • Email us your details so we can keep you informed of our work.

I want to practice more sustainably

Learn more about the actions you can take as a Psychiatrist from the RCPsych Sustainability Committee webpage, at the level of your own practice, in communication with your Trust, in your community

For example: sample text that you could use to contact your Trust Board:

Dear CEO/Director of Estates/Sustainability Officer

You will be aware that the NHS Net Zero report was published in October last year. In it the NHS has promised to become carbon neutral by 2045 and is the first health service in the world to make such a commitment. Although this may seem a long way away, the first interim target is an 80% reduction in the carbon we produce directly, by the end of this decade.

I am sure that much has been done already in line with the 2009 NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy but I would be interested to know more about how our Trust/Health Board plan to make these further reductions and what individual staff can do to help.

Summary papers: (documents)

Four principles of sustainable health care explained

Further reading suggestions: 
  • Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone: Active Hope - the classic book for climate distress which inspires and regenerates
  • Margaret Klein Salamon: Facing the Climate Emergency - draws the important distinction between climate activism and climate emergency activism and why the time to act is now

Expert report by Dr Lise van Susteren

Eco distress:

BBC Sounds of Nature Study 

Integrating nature into your practice

  • Clinical Skills for Nature based providers  Dr Alan Kellas has collated his years of experience as a LD psychiatrist, as well as working in the outdoors to provide this rich, useful summary. Includes his three favourite questions to ask.
  • How to find local nature-based providers  Dr Alan Kellas has pulled together a comprehensive list of the types of nature based provider that you may want to contact – whether for your patient’s care or for your own training.

Training options

The main training available in nature based approaches in working with children and young people have been for educators/teachers, rather than therapists.  But this is changing and the following represent quite experienced trainers with well established training records: