80% of youth suffer from climate anxiety – study

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
80% of youth suffer from climate anxiety â study
A woman facing backwards.
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A new study on climate anxiety showed that eight of 10 young people around the world are extremely worried about climate change.

“Forty-five percent globally reported that their feelings toward the prevailing climate crisis are having negative impacts on daily functioning, which include eating, concentrating on work and school, sleeping, spending time in nature, playing, having fun and dealing with relationships,” the Climate Reality Project Philippines said.

“In the Philippines, this number went up to a worrying 75 percent, with the report recognizing that young people in the global south are experiencing more severe climate anxiety, which is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a chronic fear of environmental doom,” the group added.

These figures were shared by Caroline Hickman, a psychotherapist and teaching fellow at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, during the 18th episode of The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ Klimatotohanan webcast series.

Hickman is a co-author of the study titled “Young People’s Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon.”

She is also a board member of the Climate Psychological Alliance, a non-profit organization that aims to address the psychological dimensions of the climate and ecological crisis.

The study has been released on a pre-publication basis by the scientific journal Lancet Planetary Health while it is undergoing peer review.

It was the first large-scale investigation of climate anxiety in children and young people globally and its relationship to government response.

The group surveyed 10,000 children and young people, aged 16 to 25 years from Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, UK and USA.

The group noted that the results of the survey among the Filipino youth are sobering.

“Seventy-one percent of the respondents think that they won’t have access to the same opportunities that their parents had. Seventy-seven percent think that their family’s economic, social, and physical security will be threatened. Forty-seven percent are hesitant to have children because of climate change,” Hickman said.

She said that climate anxiety is not a mental illness.

“But if we put together the realities of climate change with climate anxiety and global inadequate action, what we are looking at are chronic, inescapable stressors that will inevitably impact the mental health of children and young people.”

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