Numerous research studies have shown the ways that climate anxiety is increasing among young people, and the emotional demands of activist work. Here are links to some important studies* in these areas, and organizations focused on the intersection of climate and mental health:

* For free access to some of these articles, you may wish to create an account at Studies or reports conducted by The Resilient Activist, or in cooperation with us, are designated with our logo. The Resilient Activist's logo: multi-colored snailbird

Climate & Mental Health

Forests and Trees for Human Health: Pathways, Impacts, Challenges and Response Options IUFRO Global Assessment Report 2023

Forests, trees and green spaces… provide multiple goods and services that contribute to human health… In urban areas, not having access to forests, trees and other green spaces can result in poor mental, physical, social, as well as spiritual, health…

American Climate Perspectives Survey 2022

Over half of Americans report a negative emotional response to climate change, including roughly 1 in 4 survey respondents who report more intense feelings, such as very anxious (26%), very fearful (24%), and very angry (24%).

For many activists, choosing to dedicate their life to mitigating the impacts of global warming is a heavy burden to carry. Activists’ professional and personal lives are intertwined with the human-caused effects of the climate crisis… Many climate activists experience the unhealthy aspects of occupational identity… Projects and funding for climate causes are routinely eliminated, halting months, years, or even decades of intense effort… Many climate activists live with pre-traumatic stress, having witnessed or studied the impact of severe weather events, droughts, and habitat destruction.

Results showed that the training curriculum did indeed increase resilience, indicated by an average increase of 8 points on the CD-RISC. Additionally, coping flexibility measured by the COFLEX also increased, with an average rise of 4.7 points from pretest to posttest… Psychological resilience did appear to be positively impacted by the novel curriculum.

participants felt they improved in feelings of Autonomy, Environmental Mastery, and Self-Acceptance from the start to the conclusion of the offered trainings.

Projecting the Suicide Burden of Climate Change in the United StatesGeoHealth 2022

…warming of 1–6°C could result in an annual increase of 283–1,660 additional suicide cases…

Re-gendering Climate Change: Men and Masculinity in Climate Research, Policy, and PracticeFrontiers in Climate 2022

[A] focus on women’s suffering diverts attention from a thorough examination of the mechanisms and consequences of men’s domination of climate change research and policy… gender/women conflation hinders redress of women’s injuries by camouflaging men’s blameworthiness and offering solutions that often increase women’s duties.

Mental health and climate change in AfricaBJPsych International 2022

…a cross-sectional study on mental health in six African countries representing different regions revealed that more than half of the population acknowledged the occurrence of climate change and reported experiencing some form of impact.Ref

…This evokes feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and homesickness, often correlated with mental ill health… Higher rates of substance misuse have been reported among people displaced and exposed to extreme climate stressors in South Africa.Ref

Explore Climate Change in the American Mind” Tools & Interactives from Yale Program on Climate Change Communication 2022

The impact of climate change on mental health and emotional wellbeing: current evidence and implications for policy and practiceGrantham Institute Briefing paper No 36, 2021:

There is a clear relationship between increased temperatures and number of suicides… [and] for severe distress following extreme weather events… These impacts… [will] get worse without meaningful interventions, driving and exacerbating health and social inequalities… [They are] currently ‘hidden costs’, unaccounted for in policy and planning.

Young people’s climate anxiety revealed in landmark surveyNature 2021:

…most respondents were concerned about climate change, with nearly 60% saying they felt ‘very worried’ or ‘extremely worried’… Overall, 45% of participants said their feelings about climate change impacted their daily lives.

Keeping the heart a long way from the brain: The emotional labour of climate scientistsEmotion, Space and Society 2017

The Climate Disruption Index: 25 U.S. Cities Most Affected by Climate ChangeThe Weather Channel 2015

Eco-Existential Positive Psychology: Experiences in nature, existential anxieties, and well-beingThe Humanistic Psychologist 2014

…experiences with the natural environment play a fundamentally important role in addressing the 6 existential anxieties of identity, happiness, isolation, meaning in life, freedom, and death…

Nature Connectedness and Eudaimonic Well-Being: Spirituality as a Potential MediatorEcopsychology 2014

…spirituality mediated the relationship between nature connectedness and the well-being dimensions of self-acceptance, purpose in life, personal growth, positive relations with others, and autonomy, but not environmental mastery.

Concepts and measures related to connection to nature: Similarities and differencesJournal of Environmental Psychology 2013

 Environmental psychologists may now consider connection to nature as one broad construct…

There are multiple aspects or dimensions of connection to nature, each of which has its own unique conceptual meanings but at the same time shares a substantial overlap with other aspects that warrants an identification of a common core.

Climate Activists

Individuals indicated that by the end of the training they felt more autonomous, that they had greater control over their environments, they had a greater sense of personal growth, and a greater sense of purpose in life.

Would a novel 9-week resilience and mindfulness training curriculum (MRT) provided over a virtual telecommunication platform (Zoom) lead to improvements in resilience and coping flexibility in climate activists?

Psychological resilience did appear to be positively impacted by the novel curriculum.

Additionally, participants’ abilities to choose adaptively from a variety of coping skills, as indicated by the COFLEX’s Coping Versatility domain, were also improved.

The majority of participants reported feeling sad, angry and frustrated about climate change and environmental degradation. Participants also reported feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fear, guilt and numbness.

“The biggest thing is that it saddens me to think that humanity can be this disinterested or blind to the consequences of our actions,” said one participant in the follow-up anonymous survey.

Participants most often reported feeling anxiety about external things (impact of their actions on the earth, effects on future generations), though levels of internal anxiety (rumination, stress) were also high.

based on The Climate of Community Research Study with the University of Kansas – June 2021

Responding to the Impacts of the Climate Crisis on Children and YouthChild Development Perspectives 2019

From conversations with students who have engaged in school strikes, we know how youth’s activism has helped them manage their anxiety about the future and channel it into determination, courage, and optimism.

Sustaining the ConservationistEcopsychology 2013


Young people’s climate anxiety revealed in landmark surveyNature 2021:

“This study provides arguments for anyone who has any connection to youth mental health — climate change is a real dimension into their mental-health problems,” says Sarah Ray, who studies climate anxiety at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California.

The survey — the largest of its kind — asked 10,000 young people in 10 countries how they felt about climate change and government responses to it.

American Climate Perspectives Survey 2022:

Compared to the national average and older adults, more young Americans between 18-29 feel curious, angry, fearful, and anxious when they think about climate change, and fewer feel optimistic… There’s no question why young people feel angry — they stand to inherit a world afflicted by climate change and face the impacts for more years of their life should the trajectory of inaction persist.

Climate anxiety in young people: a call to actionThe Lancet: Planetary Health 2020 :

… the stress of a climate crisis during a crucial developmental period, coupled with an increased likelihood of encountering repeated stressors related to climate change throughout life, will conceivably increase the incidence of mental illness over the life course.

Responding to the Impacts of the Climate Crisis on Children and YouthChild Development Perspectives 2019

Professionals with expertise in child development who are committed to the well-being of the next generation have many avenues for action to help ensure that youth inherit a livable planet… We must focus on the overwhelming majority of people living in the developing world, who will experience the worst climate impacts. Theoretical concepts developed in the minority world, such as resiliency, positive development, and meaning-focused coping, need to be tested and refined to ensure that programs to support young people fit local contexts…

Growing-up, naturally: The mental health legacy of early nature affiliationEcopsychology 2015

…nature connectedness—which was associated significantly with higher levels of emotional and psychological well-being—correlates positively and significantly with students’ self-recalled positive childhood nature experiences… findings suggest that positive experiences in natural places growing up may have long-term mental health benefits through fostering a more ecological self.

Encouraging Climate Resilience in Children

The Resilient Activist Snailbird Reading for Kids - A magical bird-like creature in bright primary colors reads a book from which a sprout is emerging.

The Resilient Activist supports early nature affiliation through stories and activities that get kids engaged with and curious about the natural world around them.

Global Organizations & Businesses

Climate Psychiatry Alliance

We are psychiatrists who raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on mental health, do what we can to mitigate climate distress, and join with others to address root causes of the climate crisis.

Climate Psychology Alliance of North America

We are a community of mental health professionals who educate and train mental health professionals in climate-aware practices and inform the public about the mental health impacts of climate change.
Logo: Climate Psychology Alliance NA

Climate Psychology Alliance UK

We believe that the therapeutic community has a vital role both in providing support and in deepening our understanding of how climate anxiety plays out both in our individual lives and in our culture. We hope that this work can also throw light upon the psychological resources – acceptance of the tragedy in the mass extinctions of species and the ability to grieve our losses as well as resilience, courage, radical hope and new forms of imagination that support change.
Climate Psychology Alliance: Facing Difficult Truths

Climate Mental Health Network

We address the mental health consequences of climate change through education, community engagement and by harnessing the power of media and technology. We want everyone to have the tools and resources needed to feel supported + emotionally resilient in the face of the climate crisis.