More Americans Worry About Climate Change's Effect on Mental Health, Poll Finds

More Americans Worry About Climate Change's Effect on Mental Health, Poll Finds
Texas National Guardsmen assist resident affected by Hurricane Harvey. National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

Key Takeaways

  • A new poll finds Americans' mental health being harmed by climate change, and the number of folks affected is growing

  • The young had more anxiety about the threat of global warming than older generations did

  • Many worry about the government's response to the issue

WEDNESDAY, June 19, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- As summers get hotter and hurricane seasons less predictable, more Americans now say that climate change affects their mental health, a new poll finds.

In a survey conducted among more than 2,200 adults at the end of May, 53% of respondents said they believe that the effects of global warming impacts Americans' mental health.

That's up from 48% of those questioned in a similar poll conducted in 2022, according to the poll's sponsor, the American Psychiatric Association.

“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 Dr. Ramaswamy Viswanathan. “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.” 

It isn't just peace of mind that's being upset by high temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes and the like.

According to the poll, 39% said that climate change is also affecting folks' access to food, 37% said it was taking a toll on personal finances, their family (36%), housing (34%), their neighborhood (25%), their job or career (26%) or their education (24%).

Age mattered: "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," the APA said in a news release.

When it came to race, Black and Hispanic Americans were more likely to agree than whites that climate change impacted mental health (27%, 26% and 21%, respectively).

In an election year, a majority (54%) of Americans also said they are worried about how the government is dealing with the threat of climate change, and about a fifth (21%) said they were "very anxious" about the government's response.

More information

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SOURCE: American Psychiatric Association, news release, June 18, 2024

What This Means For You

Anxious about climate change? You're certainly not alone, a new poll finds.

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