Environment

Climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss are worsening mental health by increasing the risk of new mental health challenges, worsening pre-existing mental health problems, and making people with mental health problems more vulnerable.

Importantly, there are substantial co-benefits for mental health coming from climate and environmental action (e.g., increase in green space, sustained physical exercise from active transport, better air quality). Although our understanding, data, and evidence of the planetary crisis’ impact on mental health and the appropriate responses continues to evolve, the current body of evidence provides sufficient grounds for immediate action

We are committed to a world where everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to when their mental health needs support, even in the context of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. 

Our vision is a world where mental health is an integral part of actions to address climate and environmental threats.

 

To do this, we have identified four intermediate objectives we will work towards:

  • Data, evidence, and awareness of the impact of climate change & environmental degradation on mental health is increased, especially among key policymakers and policy actors.
  • More governments and other relevant stakeholders (e.g., NGOs) include mental health as an integral part of their actions to address climate and environmental threats (e.g., adaptation, mitigation, and loss & damage policies).
  • Mental health is considered for integration within climate and environment financing plans.
  • Mental health receives increased attention at key climate and environment moments in a way that reflects the priorities of communities most affected and people with lived experience.

Our approach

Our approach will be to work with our national and international partners. To do this, we will build the capacity of selected partners to advocate for change, engage in multilateral discussions with key players in this space, and engage with policy makers directly when needed to brief them on the links between climate change and mental health. 

We will be particularly keen to engage with other organisations working at the intersection of health and the environment to ensure the messaging for mental health is coherent with the broader health messaging and that mental health does not remain siloed in these discussions. 

As UnitedGMH, we will engage both with the climate community (advocating for more attention to be paid to mental health) as well as with the mental health community (advocating for more attention to be paid to climate change and environmental degradation). 

To learn more read:

  • Read our report on how the triple planetary crisis is impacting mental health in low- and middle-income countries here
  • Read the Global Mental Health Action Network policy briefs on climate change, the environment, and mental health here (available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese)
  • Read the WHO Climate Change & Mental Health policy brief here

To get involved:

  • Sing up to the Global Mental Health Action Network working group on the Environment here

 

We would like to thank for their feedback: Jura Augustinavicius (McGill University), Jess Beagley (Global Climate and Health Alliance), Alex Callaghan (Wellcome), Julian Eaton (LSHTM and CBM Global Disability Inclusion), Emma Ferguson (UNICEF), Giulia Gasparri (PMNCH), Brandon Gray (WHO), Zeinab Hijazi (UNICEF), Emma Lawrance (Imperial College London), Malvikha Manoj (UNICEF), Jessica Newberry Le Vay (Imperial College London), Rhea Newman (Wellcome), Omnia el Omrani (Imperial College London), Nina Renshaw (Clean Air Fund), Shekhar Saxena (Harvard University), Chloe Watson (Wellcome), and members of the Global Mental Health Action Network (GMHAN) Environment Working Group and the broader United for Global Mental Health team and Trustees. The views expressed here represent solely those of United for Global Mental Health.