More Americans Say Climate Change Is Having an Impact on Mental Health Now Than in 2022, APA Survey Finds

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Younger People and Black and Hispanic People Are More Likely to Cite its Effects

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With a prediction for an above normal hurricane season this year, wildfires causing evacuations, and tornadoes and extreme storms regularly emerging, just more than half of adults (53%) are now reporting that climate change is impacting Americans’ mental health. This is up from 48% in 2022, as reported in the American Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds Monthly Poll.

This month’s poll also asked  how climate change was impacting people’s lives, and two in five Americans reported impacts on their physical and mental health. Other aspects in which Americans were feeling climate change’s impact were access to food (39%), personal finances (37%), their family (36%), housing (34%), their neighborhood (25%), their job or career (26%) or their education (24%).

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“As psychiatrists, we know our mental state is not immune to these weather changes, and we also know that certain communities are disproportionately impacted,” said APA President Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc. “I would encourage those who feel overwhelmed to remember that there is still hope in the solutions we can adopt as individuals and on a more global scale.” 

These results are from the American Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds Monthly polls, fielded by Morning Consult on behalf of APA. This year’s poll was fielded May 28-30, 2024, among 2,207 adults; the prior poll was fielded March 19-21, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of 2,210 adults.

Black (27%) and Hispanic (26%) adults were more likely to strongly agree that climate change was impacting mental health than white adults (21%). The majority of respondents ages 18-34 said climate change impacts their mental (53%) and physical health (52%), while less than a quarter (<25%) of adults ages 65+ said climate change is impacting any tested aspect of their life.

Finally, more than half of Americans (54%) are anxious about the way the government is currently dealing with climate change and its potential impact, including one fifth (21%) who say they’re very anxious about this.

“As physicians we need to be cognizant of the impact climate change is having on peoples’ mental state, and also its impact on their lives,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Marketa M. Wills, M.D., M.B.A.  “Organizational leaders in health care, like the APA, can ensure that we are taking the right steps to prepare our workforce, and educating the public about its effects.”

To learn more about climate change’s impact on mental health, visit the APA website. APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly tracks timely mental health issues throughout the year, see past polls.

American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,900 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit  www.psychiatry.org.

CONTACT: Erin Connors American Psychiatric Association 202-609-7113 [email protected] 

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