Workbooks and Guidebooks on Climate Mental Health

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

Class Title:
"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):

  1. Clayton, S and C Manning (2018). Psychology and Climate Change: Human Perceptions, Impacts, and Responses.

  2. Cunsolo, (2017) A. Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss and Grief

  3. Davenport, L. (2017) Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change: A Clinician's Guide.

  4. Doppelt, B. (2016) Transformational Resilience: How Building Human Resilience to Climate Disruption Can Safeguard Society and Increase Wellbeing.

  5. Hanh, T. N. et al. (2013). Spiritual ecology: the cry of the earth.

  6. Hoffman, A. J. (2015). How culture shapes the climate change debate.

  7. Marshall, G. (2015). Don't even think about it: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change.

  8. Macy, J., & Johnstone, C. (2012). Active hope: How to face the mess we're in without going crazy.

  9. Nagel, J. (2016) Gender and Climate Change: Impacts, Science, Policy Routledge.

  10. Nicholsen, S. (2002). The Love of Nature and the End of the World.

  11. Orange, D.M. Climate Crisis, Psychoanalysis, and Radical Ethics

  12. Stoknes, P.E. (2015). What we think about when we try not to think about global warming: Toward a new psychology of climate action.

Academic Articles:

  1. Albrecht, G., et al (2007). Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change. Australasian psychiatry, 15(sup1), S95-S98.

  2. Alston, M. (2015). Social work, climate change and global cooperation. International Social Work, 58(3), 355-363.

  3. 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.

  4. Besthorn, F. H. (2014). Ecopsychology, Meet Ecosocialwork: What You Might Not Know—A Brief Overview and Reflective Comment. Ecopsychology, 6(4), 199-206.

  5. 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.

  6. Cunsolo, A, and N Ellis (2018). Ecological grief as a mental health response to climate change-related loss. Nature Climate Change, April 2018.

  7. 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 health15(11), 2370. doi:10.3390/ijerph15112370

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 health15(9), 1806. doi:10.3390/ijerph15091806

  11. 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. 

  12. 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.

  13. Rice, S and McIver, L. (2016). Climate change and mental health: Rationale for research and intervention planning. Asian Journal of Psychiatry20, pp1-2.

  14. Torres, J and Casey, J. (2017). The centrality of social ties to climate migration and mental health. BMC Public Health. 

  15. Whitmore-Williams, S, Manning, C, Krygsman, K and Speiser, M. (2017). Mental Health and our Changing Climate. [Online]. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

  16. “The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change” American Psychologist. 66(4): 265-276.


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  2. Scenes from First Reformed