Climate activists are now flocking to support groups to treat their 'eco-anxiety'

Photo of Climate activists are now flocking to support groups to treat their 'eco-anxiety'

A growing body of evidence suggests climate activists the world over are increasingly suffering from "eco-anxiety," experiencing mental health episodes triggered by the stress of worrying about the earth's pending doom from global warming. In order to combat the condition, climate anxiety support groups are cropping up — and according to The Daily Beast, the seats are filling up.

What are the details?

The Beast reported on the rise of climate anxiety groups in the U.S., calling the gatherings "the new self-care." In order to meet the rise in demand, counselors and clinicians are getting trained up on how to treat this special group of patients who feel weighed down by the "doom-and-gloom" surrounding the movement.

More than 250 people have participated in Good Grief, a 10-step eco-anxiety support program which mimics the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous. "We created the program we needed, and we're kind of shocked with the level of growth," explained co-founder Laura Schmidt. "We've personally done 10 rounds of the program with participants, and more meetings are happening beyond us. We know this is strong. It empowers people and takes away desperation."

Activist Lynn Wang told the outlet she decided to launch a support group after becoming overwhelmed by the climate crisis last year. "People would say, 'Isn't it great that the world is ending in 12 years?' It's in the back of people's minds, and it's constantly over our heads."

"There's a real fear for the next generation," Wang continued. "Thinking about the future, I can't imagine planning for the future when we only have 12 years."

Medical Xpress also reported on the rise of eco-anxiety, saying that "for many Australians, the existential dread of what the future holds in the face of unmitigated climate change is having documented impacts on their mental health."

The publication suggested — first and foremost — that action on climate change should be immediately. In the meantime, however, "some practical responses will focus on preparing the health system for climate change," by "increasing awareness of the mental health effects of climate change across the community, private, and government sectors."

Do you have climate change anxiety? | BBC Ideas

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