Climate Change and Mental Health

Scientists are collecting plenty of statistics about the destructiveness of climate change. They’re documenting rising temperatures, increasing CO2 levels, salt water encroachments and greater storm activity.

Now imagine what it’s like to be living just a few feet above sea level. Or watch the dry earth crack where you used to plant your crops. Or wonder whether this is the typhoon that is going to destroy your village, or whether the wildfire you can see over the hills is going to destroy your home and community.

What is climate change doing to people's states of mind? With all the emphasis on meteorologic data, there hasn’t been much focus on mental health. The few studies that have been done show that the mental stress of seeing your environment change can be powerful enough to spark PTSD--Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In this series, Joanne Silberner talks with people whose daily lives are being affected by climate change and with scientists who are trying to document and measure the mental health effects. She also looks at what one community is doing to build resiliency as its world changes.