RANZCP supports climate emergency

10 January 2020

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is committed to playing a vital role in addressing the impact that climate emergency is having on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

President of the RANZCP, Associate Professor John Allan said that as psychiatrists, we see the mental health effects and distress from the community associated with bushfires, drought, floods, cyclones and other natural disasters brought on by the impact of climate change and other environmental issues.           

‘Changes in our climate have increased the likelihood and severity of natural disasters, directly impacting the mental and physical health of individuals and communities.

‘There are groups who are particularly vulnerable to the indirect impact of eco-anxiety affecting mental health, such as young people, the elderly and people with close emotional and ancestral ties to the land.

‘Additionally with more people exposed to significant trauma the chance of developing stress related disorders, depression and other serious conditions increase.

‘There is a growing body of research about the physical and mental health effects of climate change which the RANZCP will continue to monitor and develop into relevant policy statements and guidelines as new evidence emerges.

‘We must do our part to reduce the likelihood of such events but also be prepared to respond to the likely increase in future events.’

The RANZCP, as a leader in mental health, acknowledges and is committed to actively participating in discussions and the development of plans to address the mental health impact associated with climate emergency.

‘We are engaged in many discussions with various organisations and bodies to further our understanding of the situation and evidence, as it stands, to enable us to be in the best position possible to work with and support various governments, organisations and the wider community,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

‘The RANZCP would like to thank the many Fellows who have contacted us on this issue and look forward to their continued feedback and support as we endeavour to further understand the impacts of climate change on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities.’

See also RANZCP Position Statement 35 addressing the mental health impacts of natural disasters and climate change-related weather events.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.