Workbooks and Guidebooks on Climate Mental Health
Climate Therapy Alliance (Pacific Northwest Chapter) has produced an Emotional Resilience Toolkit for Climate Work (PDF), aimed “to provide emotional support, resources and tools for eco-anxiety, grief, and the range of feelings that accompany climate work.”
The Australian Psychological Association has published a series of helpful guides to coping with climate change:
Classes and Educational Resources
“Psychotherapy and a Changing Planet: Climate Psychology” - an online course through JFK University, taught by Leslie Davenport (6 CEU credits available for mental health professionals).
“This course will introduce comprehensive strategies and resources for mental health professionals, addressing key clinical themes specific to the psychological features and impact of climate change.”
“How to make sense of the complex challenges society now faces. What are the underlying, systemic forces at play? What brought us to this place? Acting without this understanding is like putting a band-aid on a life-threatening injury.
“How to build community resilience. While we must also act in our individual lives and as national and global citizens, building the resilience of our communities is an essential response to the 21st century’s multiple sustainability crises.”
“In Time for Tomorrow? the Carbon Conversations Handbook.” (UK-oriented)
“In Time for Tomorrow? the International Carbon Conversations Handbook.”
“The Carbon Conversations Facilitators’ Guide.”
It is an online, 3-month course.
While not focused only on climate, one of the program’s 6 learning objectives is:
“Address eco-anxiety, eco-grief and climate trauma in climate disaster situations.”
CEUs for mental health professionals are available.
Climate & Mind Curricula
In the interest of increasing discussion and awareness of the impact of climate change on mental health, we have been reaching out to various graduate schools (especially in social work and clinical psychology programs), encouraging them to include climate issues in their curricula. Several schools have shown interest, and are taking our recommendations into consideration for the upcoming school year.
To assist schools in this process, we developed a sample course summary that can be used in a graduate level class. This course summary (outlined below) was developed with masters-level social work students in mind, but could be easily modified for masters programs in psychology, and counseling; or for undergraduate-level programs.
Please feel free to use the outline and resources for developing your own syllabus. We would love to hear if you have any success implementing a class on the topic of climate change and mental health (contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Climate & Mind: Social Work and Social Justice in the face of a Changing Planet"
Topics / Themes to be covered in a proposed course: (detailed references listed below)
Topic 1: Climate, Social Work, and Mental Health - an introduction (review articles about climate change and mental health)
Readings: Barry et al., 2010; Clayton & Christie, 2018; Hayes et al, 2018i; 2018ii; Whitmore-Williams et al., 2017; Rice, 2016
Topic 2: Perspectives on Climate and Mental Health from various Mental Health fields (Social Work, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Nursing, Emergency Medicine, Sociology)
Readings: Alston, 2015, and other articles
Topic 3: Clinical Implications of Climate Change - Ecological Grief, Solastalgia, Pretraumatic Stress Disorder, and other diagnoses related to direct environmental loss, or awareness of change
Readings: Cunsolo & Ellis, 2018; Cunsolo & Landman, 2017; Davenport, 2017, Ch. 2-3, 5
Topic 4: Mental Health Resilience and Climate Change (Including critiques of the concept of ‘resilience’)
Readings: Doppelt, 2016; Torres & Casey, 2017; Davenport, 2017, Ch. 6
Topic 5: Climate Change, and the psychology of belief/behavior change
Readings: Stoknes, 2015; Marshall, 2015; Hoffman, 2015; Kalmus, 2017; Davenport, 2017, Ch. 1
Topic 6: Climate Change and Social Justice (subtopics a-e, below)
6a. Climate & intersectionality - (Kaijser, 2014)
6b. Climate, race & ethnicity
6c. Climate & disability - (Saxton & Ghenis, 2018)
6d. Gender, Ecofeminism, and feminist psychology (Nagel, 2016; Plesa, 2019)
6e. Climate & Socioeconomic status
Topic 7: Climate Change and spirituality/faith
Readings: Hanh, T. N., et al., 2013; Macy & Johnstone, 2012
Topic 8: Climate Change, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), and Indigenous Rights
Readings: Hunter, 2009
Topic 9: Ecopsychology, eco-social work, and the Environment in Social Work Practice
Readings: Besthorn, 2015
Topic 10: Climate Change and forced migration
Readings: Torres & Casey, 2017
Topic 11: Climate Change, and conflict/violence
Readings: Obradovich, 2018
Topic 12: The role of Mental Health Professionals in the face of Climate Breakdown
Readings: Davenport, 2017; Orange, 2016
Books (to be read, either in full or as samples):
Clayton, S and C Manning (2018). Psychology and Climate Change: Human Perceptions, Impacts, and Responses.
Cunsolo, (2017) A. Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss and Grief
Davenport, L. (2017) Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change: A Clinician's Guide.
Doppelt, B. (2016) Transformational Resilience: How Building Human Resilience to Climate Disruption Can Safeguard Society and Increase Wellbeing.
Hanh, T. N. et al. (2013). Spiritual ecology: the cry of the earth.
Hoffman, A. J. (2015). How culture shapes the climate change debate.
Marshall, G. (2015). Don't even think about it: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change.
Macy, J., & Johnstone, C. (2012). Active hope: How to face the mess we're in without going crazy.
Nagel, J. (2016) Gender and Climate Change: Impacts, Science, Policy Routledge.
Nicholsen, S. (2002). The Love of Nature and the End of the World.
Orange, D.M. Climate Crisis, Psychoanalysis, and Radical Ethics
Stoknes, P.E. (2015). What we think about when we try not to think about global warming: Toward a new psychology of climate action.
Albrecht, G., et al (2007). Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change. Australasian psychiatry, 15(sup1), S95-S98.
Alston, M. (2015). Social work, climate change and global cooperation. International Social Work, 58(3), 355-363.
Berry, H. L., Waite, T. D., Dear, K. B., Capon, A. G., & Murray, V. (2018). The case for systems thinking about climate change and mental health. Nature Climate Change, 8(4), 282.
Besthorn, F. H. (2014). Ecopsychology, Meet Ecosocialwork: What You Might Not Know—A Brief Overview and Reflective Comment. Ecopsychology, 6(4), 199-206.
Clayton, S., C. Manning, K. Krygsman, and M. Speiser (2017). “Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance.” American Psychological Association, March, 2017.
Cunsolo, A, and N Ellis (2018). Ecological grief as a mental health response to climate change-related loss. Nature Climate Change, April 2018.
Ebi, K. L., Berry, P., Hayes, K., Boyer, C., Sellers, S., Enright, P. M., & Hess, J. J. (2018). Stress Testing the Capacity of Health Systems to Manage Climate Change-Related Shocks and Stresses. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(11), 2370. doi:10.3390/ijerph15112370
Hayes, K., Blashki, G., Wiseman, J., Burke, S., & Reifels, L. (2018). Climate change and mental health: risks, impacts and priority actions. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 12(1), 28.
Ferguson, M. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2010). Collective guilt mediates the effect of beliefs about global warming on willingness to engage in mitigation behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(2), 135-142.
Hayes, K., & Poland, B. (2018). Addressing Mental Health in a Changing Climate: Incorporating Mental Health Indicators into Climate Change and Health Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(9), 1806. doi:10.3390/ijerph15091806
Hunter, E. 2009. ‘Radical hope’ and rain: Climate change and the mental health of indigenous residents of northern Australia. Australasian Psychiatry. [Online]. 17(6), pp 445-452.
Obradovich, N., et al. (2018). Empirical evidence of mental health risks posed by climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(43), 10953-10958.
Rice, S and McIver, L. (2016). Climate change and mental health: Rationale for research and intervention planning. Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 20, pp1-2.
Torres, J and Casey, J. (2017). The centrality of social ties to climate migration and mental health. BMC Public Health.
Whitmore-Williams, S, Manning, C, Krygsman, K and Speiser, M. (2017). Mental Health and our Changing Climate. [Online]. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
“The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change” American Psychologist. 66(4): 265-276.