Eco-distress in children and young people

19 November 2020

Over half (57%) of child and adolescent psychiatrists surveyed in England are seeing children and young people distressed about the climate crisis and the state of the environment, according to a new survey from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 

Global warming, events like floods, fires or drought and harm to animals as a result of habitat destruction are affecting the mental health of younger generations, who now face even more uncertainty about their future because of the pandemic.

The wide range of emotions and thoughts young people may experience when they hear bad news about our planet and the environment is called eco distress – also known as eco-anxiety.

Dr Catriona Mellor, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and member of our Sustainability Committee, joined two young people for a conversation about eco distress and the impact of the climate crisis on our mental wellbeing.

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