All Articles

ECO-ANXIETY: Climate-induced Psychological Crisis

Although the issue rarely manages to find a place in our agenda, there appears to be a strong relationship between climate change and psychological disturbances.

We have increasingly started to feel the effects of climate change in our daily lives. The data shared in the report1 published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed the magnitude of the climate crisis. Global surface temperatures have been rising since the 1970s in an unprecedented rate for the last 2000 years. Moreover, the temperatures that have been observed in the last decade are even higher than those calculated for the multi-century warmth experienced around 6500 years ago, as the report underlined. Likewise, global mean sea-level has surged rapidly since the 1900s, again at an unprecedented rate for the last 3000 years. The report published by IPCC clearly indicates the strong correlation between human activities and extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy precipitation and draught.

The five-fold increase in climate-related disasters in the last 50 years, as pointed out by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), has led to over two million deaths, significant damage to ecosystems and US$3.64 trillion financial burden.2 The forecasts also sound an alarm concerning the ever-increasing intensity in extreme weather events. Just to give an example, each one-degree elevation in ocean temperatures is expected to result in a higher frequency of powerful tornados as well as 7% increase in heavy precipitation events.3

Under the light of the overwhelming data, climate change as well as its environmental and social implications have started to feature more prominently in our agenda; however, the effects of climate change on human psychology have not often been brought to our attention by the media. In fact, while over 54,000 medical research papers published between 2010 and 2020 mentioned climate change, less than 1% of those also stated its psychological aspect.4

Although the issue rarely manages to find a place in our agenda, there appears to be a strong relationship between climate change and psychological disturbances. A study has revealed that internet website traffic and searches between 2006 and 2020 on terms related to “climate change” and “mental health” were correlated significantly.5 A study conducted by American Psychology Association (APA) in 2020 reported that 67% of Americans were “somewhat” or “extremely anxious” about climate change, while 55% were “somewhat” or “extremely anxious” about the impact of climate change on their own mental health.6 Similarly, a study carried out in Europe indicated that 30% of the participants were “very or extremely worried” about climate change, and that the phenomenon reportedly led to emotions of fear, outrage and guilt in them.7  

The impact of climate change on mental health has so far been investigated mostly in industrialized nations. Yet, developing countries bear the brunt of extreme weather events. The research conducted by WMO revealed that 91% of the deaths caused by weather-related disasters from 1970 to 2019 occurred in developing countries.8 Therefore, the impact of climate change on mental health is of global significance. 

As of 2021, climate-related natural disasters such as draughts, floods, and wildfires with increasing intensity are being reported chiefly in the USA, Spain, China, Fiji, the UK, Indonesia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Turkey as well as in other parts of the world9, and they are having an impact on psychological health of more and more people. However, as the matter has not been discussed implicitly,  the individuals are faced with major obstacles in terms of defining what they experience and developing mechanisms to mitigate the challenges. It is thought that emotions concerning climate-change remain rather suppressed since related psychological problems have neither been widely recognized, for instance as grief, nor they are readily discussed despite their prevalence.10

Since the impact of climate change on psychological well-being remains to be a rather uncharted territory, psychologists and psychiatrists do not have clear guidelines yet regarding how their approach should be. Most mental health professionals do not feel adequately equipped to address the issue of dealing with individuals who are anxious and grieving over climate-change. Moreover, there are also a significant number of them who see climate-change irrelevant to their own area of expertise.11 On the other hand, more and more specialists are sounding the alarm as the urgency of the matter becomes unavoidable. An open letter signed by over 1,000 clinical psychologists emphasized the impact of climate-crisis on people’s mental health, predicting “acute trauma on a global scale in response to extreme weather events, forced migration and conflict”.12

Recently, new terms, such as eco-anxiety, eco-grief, eco-guilt and solastalgia, have been coined to describe the psychological impact of climate change: 

Eco-anxiety: Anxiety is one of the emotions that surface resulting from the impact of climate change on human psychology; eco-anxiety is the term used to define this particular type of emotion. Eco-anxiety is a rather new term. Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by mental health professionals to make diagnoses in the US, has not indicated it as a specific condition yet, a 2017 report by APA referred to the term “eco-anxiety”, detailing the impacts of climate change on mental health. It described eco-anxiety as a source of stress brought about by “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations”.13 

Eco-grief: Another term describing the impact of climate change on mental health is eco-grief. Eco-grief has been described as the mourning of the loss of species, ecosystems and landscapes that has been experienced or is likely to be experienced. Three main types of loss have been proposed to evoke eco-grief: First, the loss of species and ecosystems as a result of acute climate events or gradual environmental change. Second, the disruption of personal and cultural identities established in relation to the physical environment. And third, anticipated future loss.14 

Eco-guilt: Climate change may evoke feelings of guilt. The concept, referred to as eco-guilt, is used to describe guilt felt particularly towards non-human species.15 Eco-guilt may also lead people to feel guilty because of the impact of their lifestyles and may arise while exhibiting behaviour that may have an adverse effect on climate conditions. 

Solastalgia: The term, coined by Glenn Albrecht in 2005, describes the alienation and psychological disturbance experienced by individuals as a result of the change and loss of ecosystem in their part of the planet due to climate crisis. Since everything has changed and nothing is what it used to be, people suffering from solastalgia yearn desperately for home although they have actually never left.16

Why does climate change have an impact on human psychology? 

The negative psychological effects of climate change arise primarily in the aftermath of extreme weather events caused by climate change. Increasingly more people have been directly experiencing climate-related events and associated adverse environmental, social, and economic conditions. Experts predict a sharp increase in the number of people traumatized due to climate-related disasters.17 Unfortunately, data also confirm this prediction. It is estimated that about 83 million people will have lost their lives by 2100 due to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.18 Between 2009 and 2020, the proportion of Americans stating that they had personally been impacted by climate change rose from 32% to 42%.19 

While the entire society does not feel the impact of climate crisis directly and at an equal degree, humans as a whole face a great deal of uncertainty because of climate change. Even though people discern the presence of a major threat, not knowing when and how the threat will materialize contribute to the uncertainty significantly. Individuals feel that they have no control over the uncertainty. Furthermore, most data reported regarding the impact of climate crisis trigger negative emotions. Species that face extinction and people dying as a result of air pollution frequently feature in news bulletins nowadays. Exposure to this kind of stimuli make people feel under pressure and, subsequently, feel overwhelmed.20 Experts point out that anxiety may have constructive implications as well, leading people to seek deeper information regarding the matter and encouraging them to take action in order to create positive change. However, being over exposed to negative content may also lead to a completely adverse reaction, paralysing them into apathy and denial. 

Another reason for the negative emotions caused by climate change is the feeling of personal responsibility and the idea that their efforts will be inadequate. A survey by Yale University reported that over 40% of Americans felt helpless about climate change.21 In fact, individuals feel personally responsible for climate change because of the rhetoric created and used extensively by the biggest polluters in the world. A report by CDP in 2017 revealed that 100 fossil fuel producers were accountable for 70% of all global greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.22 Yet, big corporations fail to fully acknowledge their responsibility despite being aware of their impact on the environment; and instead, use alternative approaches to shift the responsibility onto individuals. Take Coca Cola, one of the leading plastic polluters in the world, for example.  Coca Cola has been encouraging consumers to recycle with their Keep America Beautiful initiative for decades, effectively shifting the burden of solving the problem of single-use plastics generated by Coca Cola to individuals.23 Similarly, individual carbon foot-print notion and campaign, developed and popularized by British Petroleum (BP) and its agencies in 2005, helped imply the idea that the responsibility lied with people themselves. The campaign encouraged people to use a “carbon foot-print calculator” to evaluate how much of an impact their day-to-day behaviours had on the environment, directing the focus on individuals rather than corporations.24

The perception created by the corporate world over the years has started to change, albeit rather slowly. While individuals still feel accountable for the climate change, they do place the main responsibility on governments and private sector. According to a survey by the University of Bath, which questioned 10,000 young people, aged 16-25 years, in 10 countries, 58% of young people were deeply anxious and felt that their governments betrayed them and future generations by not taking action to address climate change.25 

Who experiences the psychological problems caused by climate change? And how?

Climate crisis has both direct and indirect effects on mental health. Studies revealed that the effects of climate crisis could have short- and long-term consequences, and they could be experienced before or after extreme weather events. The effects of climate change on mental health could be manifested as stress, fear, helplessness, anxiety, losing sense of control, sleep disturbance, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse or suicide attempts.26 

Those who experience the trauma and the impact of climate change directly are the most vulnerable. Since certain regions are more fragile in terms of climate risks, such psychological problems are more prevalent in those areas. For example, some low-income African countries, despite being much less accountable for climate crisis given their underdeveloped industries, feel the effects of climate crisis much more intensely on a daily basis. Therefore, eco-anxiety is a feeling that is related to the present for them, not to the future. A common concern observed among children living in those regions is the idea that they will die of climate change, rather than of old age.27 Changes in ecological systems experienced by people in fragile regions lead to gradual loss of certain traditional social activities and loss of relations as well as social support within their societies in the long run.28 As ecological destruction intensifies, people in such regions are expected to become climate migrants, having to leave their homes behind. The projections indicate that over 216 million people could move within their own countries by 2050 because of draughts and rising sea levels induced by climate change.29 

Certain groups are at a disadvantage as they are more likely to experience climate-related disasters and are more vulnerable to their impact. Socio-economic and demographical inequalities in the form of geographical location, history of chronic illnesses, disabilities, educational status, income, gender or age could render certain groups more fragile and disadvantaged.30 

Major psychological disturbances could be observed in people feeling the impact of climate crisis first-hand. A study conducted in the United Kingdom reported that people who experience extreme weather are 50% more likely to manifest symptoms of stress and depression even years afterwards.31 According to a survey on people who were affected by wildfires in California, 33% suffered from major depression while 24% experienced PTSD. Depression, anxiety, and paranoia are reported among psychological problems experienced by people who live in areas where wildfires occurred in Greece. Children, on the other hand, are observed with panic attack, sleep disorders and flashback issues. 

Severe floods have been reported to cause depression, anxiety, and PTSD, exacerbating existing psychological problems and fostering domestic violence. Moreover, even families not residing in the vicinity of the directly affected areas could suffer from high levels of PTSD as community cohesion is disrupted.32 Such problems could assume chronic nature as well under certain circumstances. Follow-up studies on 1,700 children who lived through four major hurricanes found that up to half of the children manifested symptoms of PTSD and that the symptoms became chronic for 10% of them.33

Different types of disasters induce diverse effects on human psychology. A strong correlation can be noted between rising local temperatures and elevated suicide rates particularly for higher age groups. Researchers from Imperial College London reportedly observed a 1% increase in suicide rates for every 1°C temperature rise.34 The increased incidence of aggressive crime in June and July has been associated with heatwaves.35 

Extreme weather events can also lead to impoverishment because of their economic implications, and subsequently have a bearing on psychological well-being of those impacted by them.36 Furthermore, climate-related events have a major impact on agriculture, which results in complications in terms of accessing food with higher nutritional values; and, given the strong association between nourishment and mental health, increased incidence of psychological problems.37 

Climate change could have negative psychological consequences even for those who do not feel the impact first-hand. Mostly children and young people can be listed in this particular group. People in this group harbour feelings of anxiety for their future, unlike those who experience the trauma directly and are concerned for their current well-being. During a virtual Youth Environment Assembly organized by Major Group for Children and Youth of The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in February 2021 with the participation of over 7,000 people from 180 countries, young people underlined the adverse effects of climate change on their psychology and stated that they were overwhelmed with eco-anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and uncertainty concerning the future, as well as fear of losing their homes and lives.38 According to a survey conducted by the University of Bath, 75% of the young people regarded future as frightening. The figure reaches even higher levels in countries where the impact of climate change is more pronounced. In the Philippines, for instance, it was established to be 92%. Of the young people who participated in the survey, 55% believed they would have fewer opportunities in life as adults than their parents.39 A 2020 survey of child psychiatrists in England showed that 57% of them were seeing children and young people distressed about climate crisis.40

Parents constitute another significant group of people who try to cope with the adverse effects of climate change on their mental well-being. Parents, in addition to personally experiencing the psychological effects of climate change, have to respond to their children’s concerns, which leads to higher levels of anxiety. Parents feel increasingly more pressure to instil environmental values in their children while worrying about the state of the planet they are leaving their children.41 On the other hand, some parents feel at a loss concerning what they are supposed to tell their children and request guidance.42 The effects of climate change are felt not only by parents but also by those who are planning on having children. To give an idea concerning the fear and worry people have regarding becoming parents, BirthStrike in the United Kingdom and Conceivable Future in the United States can be listed among recent entities lobbying to encourage policy makers to take action regarding climate crisis, while refusing to have children until concrete steps have been taken.43

Finally, experts, researchers and professionals working on climate issues, as well as psychologists providing consultancy on climate-related issues are also among those who feel the negative psychological effects. Climate specialists are exposed to negative input concerning climate change on a regular basis, and since they comprehend the magnitude of the problem, they feel even more helpless. Therefore, they have to deal with feelings of anxiety, exhaustion and inadequacy, making it difficult for them to carry on.44 

What is the impact of climate change on our psychology in Turkey?

To the best of our knowledge, no research investigating the impact of global climate change on human psychology included Turkey. Therefore, we, as S360, in collaboration with VeriNays Research Company designed a survey to develop insight into how Turkish people felt and had been affected by climate change. We investigated Turkish people’s attitudes and behaviours with respect to climate change and wanted to see the effects on their psychological well-being. 

A total of 605 people, representing different socio-economic groups, at the ages of 15-55 years, living in 66 cities participated in the survey conducted on digital panel in October 2021. 

Rather than climate crisis, other types of crises existing in Turkey take precedence

When the participants were asked what they thought the leading problems were both in Turkey and in the world, and to list them in order of importance, climate change did not feature among the top three problems for Turkey by 82% of the participants. On the other hand, climate change was stated as number one problem for the world. The fact that climate change is regarded as the most important issue for the world when it does not make it to the top-three for Turkey indicates that although there is awareness in Turkey regarding climate change, the current make-up of the crises in the country is too complex to give climate change priority. Furthermore, it can be inferred that climate change is regarded as an issue that has to be dealt with by industrialized countries with simpler daily agendas. We can also conclude that climate change has not started to be perceived as a systemic issue in Turkey, and that people in general have not realized how interconnected it is with other major problems. When participants were asked to define climate change, few could associate it with its social implications, such as financial crisis and problems of accessing food. Yet, climate change, due to its close association with other problems, acts as a trigger for a number of major fundamental issues such as poverty, unemployment and migration. A report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2019 states that 80 million full time jobs will have been lost because of climate crisis by 2030, leading to global economic losses of $2.4 trillion. Agricultural sector is expected to be hit the hardest by climate crisis, accounting for 60% of global working hours lost due to heat stress.45 Consequently, access to food will become more difficult and sharper increases will be seen in food prices. Moreover, developing countries feel the economic, social, and environmental effects of climate crisis much more acutely. 

The impact of climate change on psychology in Turkey

According to the participants, climate crisis does not feature high among the problems that have a significant impact on Turkey; nevertheless, it is of major importance in their lives. Almost all of the participants agreed that climate change was one of the most important problems in their lives. 


The results also demonstrate the fact that Turkish society has started to feel the psychological implications of climate change. Of the participants, 71% stated being extremely anxious due to climate change, while 42% reported negative effects on their psychology because of it. The figures can be associated with the fact that the people have increasingly been experiencing the concrete impact of climate change, particularly after the devastating wildfires that took place in the previous summer. While 13% of the participants reported having experienced wildfires and floods, 28% said that they had witnessed environmental destruction in their regions.  

"I live on the coast, and it often rains, but tornados used to occur only once every 10-15 years. They have started to take place all the time now, and come all the way to the coast. It seems that we are going to experience a lot of natural disasters in the future.” 

Anxiety is not the only feeling that is evoked in Turkish people by climate change. As a result of eco-anxiety, 40% of the participants stated they felt guilty because of their actions towards the environment. This high percentage demonstrates that the rhetoric that has been used by governments and private sector to shift the responsibility onto individuals has been successful in Turkey as well. 

“I suffer from anxiety because of the natural disasters; thinking that my children will have a difficult future makes me quite upset, and I feel guilty regarding many of my own actions.”

Young people represent the most significant point of difference

In Turkey, climate change has a more significant psychological effect on those exposed to extreme weather events, higher-income groups, parents and women, according to data.

In terms of global data, rather similar levels of eco-anxiety were noted among both working-class and middle-class participants in a survey carried out in the UK.46 However, groups from different income levels in Turkey were observed with dissimilar levels of anxiety.  Psychologically, higher-income groups, particularly because of frequenting summer holiday resorts where most wildfires took place, were noted to have been affected more by the impact of climate crisis than those from lower socioeconomic groups, who have had to deal with other problems with higher priority in their lives, making them one of the least affected groups in this regard. 

While young people on a global scale are the group with highest incidence of eco-anxiety, young people in Turkey constitute another group with low levels of anxiety in term of climate change. If we consider the fact that the percentage of people at the ages of 15-24 years who are Neither in Employment, Nor in Education or Training (NEET) is 28% in Turkey,47 young Turkish people’s concern for a better education, as well as a better job and salary appear to have taken precedence over less immediate problems.  

On the other hand, consistent with global data, parents in Turkey represent a group that is deeply affected psychologically by climate change. Of the participants with children, 78% reportedly worried about the future for their children because of the changes in climate conditions. 

“Trees and forests have been scorched; we have lost our oxygen. The same threat hangs over the heads of our children as well. Let us not forget how long it takes for even a single tree to grow...” 

Finally, women were observed to be more anxious because of the climate crisis and had higher levels of awareness when compared with men. The results of a recent survey called “Perception of Climate Change in Turkey” also revealed that women were more fragile than men in terms of climate change. While 38% of men stated they could adapt to the changes brought about by climate crisis, the figure stood at 23% for women.48 


Who is responsible for and what are the reasons of climate change?

The anxiety and feeling of guilt caused by climate change fosters the idea in individuals that they are personally responsible, but their efforts will be futile to mitigate its effects. Although the participants regarded corporations and governments, as well as people accountable for climate change, they thought the main responsibility, with 85%, lied with the industry in general and the construction industry in particular. It can be surmised that as people associated environmental destruction created by factories with marine mucilage which has plagued Turkish seas recently, they have started to regard the industry as accountable for climate change. 

On the other hand, it is a common belief that none of the stakeholders makes enough effort to deal with climate change. Clover Hogan, a young climate activist, stressed in her COP26 address that eco-anxiety was not only related to the magnitude of climate crisis but also to the lack of action against climate crisis. Since knowing that there is an ongoing struggle against climate crisis is instrumental in lowering anxiety levels, thinking that none of the stakeholders is making enough effort in Turkey certainly has an exacerbating effect on anxiety. 

What can be done to mitigate the negative psychological effects of climate change? 

Undoubtedly, the first step in our fight against the adverse psychological effects of climate change is to work towards reducing climate change. Having accepted this first step, there are a number of measures that can be employed: some individually and others collectively. Individual measures are those that can be taken personally, while collective ones are those that can be taken by governments, private sector, and mental health professionals.

What can individuals do?

While it is not possible to carry out the fight against climate change without enlisting governments and private sector, there are certain steps individuals can take for their mental well-being.  

First of all, we need to acknowledge the emotions we harbour because of climate change, and come to terms with them, accepting them as perfectly normal reactions to such dramatic change.49 The next important step will be to build up our emotional resilience. The belief one has in one’s own resilience is strongly associated with fewer symptoms of PTSD and depression in the wake of disasters.50 Experts recommend, among others, physical activity and spending longer time in nature to build up resilience.51

An ever-increasing number of individuals and institutions have started taking action to mitigate the negative psychological effects of climate change. One of the most notable steps taken in this regard is the recognition of the issue by mental health experts as well as the focus created on programs to train specialists.52 For instance, a group called Climate Psychiatry Alliance prepares and conducts training programs dealing with eco-anxiety matters following the sharp increase in the number of people seeking assistance because of eco-anxiety. Another group called Climate Psychologists provides psychological support for individuals, families, groups and specialists through workshops and coaching. Similarly, Good Grief Network, a US-based group, has been offering 10-step group therapy sessions since 2016 for those suffering from climate-related anxiety.53 The program that has reached over 1,000 people so far consists of steps from acknowledging emotions to taking action in order to bolster individuals’ social and emotional resilience.54

Another factor that is essential in terms of improving resilience is establishing stronger social bonds. Bonds that are formed with one’s family and acquaintances are correlated with higher resilience when faced with trauma. Research has demonstrated that social support during and after disasters is reflected in lower levels of psychological distress.55 Joining climate-related groups, meeting people who feel the same, and getting together with those who take action all work towards increasing resilience.56 More and more people throughout the world are joining forces for this ideal, and are in solidarity with one another. Quite a number of social media platforms on eco-grief and eco-anxiety are already in existence. For instance, Eco-Anxious Stories, a project offering people a channel to share their eco-anxiety stories, helps them find access to tools to deal with their problems.57 

Another important step is to take action towards alleviating the effects of climate change. Dr. Patrick Kennedy-Williams, a clinical psychologist from Oxford, believes that the ways of tackling climate-induced negative emotions is intrinsically linked with those that are to be employed to deal with climate change itself. In other words, action.58 Adopting environment-friendly habits such as reducing electricity and water consumption or walking rather than driving help people feel they have more control over their lives, and start searching for solutions rather than settling for their fate.59 Being prepared for disasters and having emergency plans also increase our sense of control and decrease anxiety levels.60 It is also worthwhile to encourage policy makers to take action, and demand governments and corporations to take constructive steps.61

Since being overexposed to news concerning climate crisis triggers psychological disturbances in individuals, the sources of information have to be reliable; and when information gets to be too overwhelming, experts suggest refraining from following the news temporarily.  

What can we do as a society? 

First of all, governments and private sector, who are the main culprits regarding climate change, should acknowledge their part, alleviating the pressure on individuals. Shifting the greater part of the blame away from individuals is of great significance to lessen eco-guilt and tackle the adverse psychological effects. Private sector in particular should take action to deal with climate change without any expectations from individuals, and should avoid exploiting feelings of eco-anxiety in their campaign communications. If institutions exhibit a transparent approach while sharing how effective the measures they take are to fight climate change, they will foster greater trust and confidence in their sincerity, thus, lowering levels of anxiety. 

Our research focusing on Turkey has demonstrated that despite having markedly high levels of anxiety, the participants still maintain that measures taken to deal with the issue will lead to an effective outcome in terms of alleviating the adverse effects of climate crisis. In other words, they have not lost their hopes yet; and therefore, establishing platforms to provide guidance regarding ways to tackle climate change and increasing awareness can be effective both in decreasing anxiety levels and in encouraging action. For example, Force of Nature platform aims to help young people realize their potential in terms of creating change, and maintains that young people could deal with their anxiety by taking action. The platform offers training programs to help 11-24-year-olds manage their climate anxiety and shows them how to discover their potential in order to create change.62

Another important point is making sure that we do not share only negative news concerning climate change if we are to avoid triggering hopelessness. It is true that experts stress the importance of sharing even disturbing facts regarding the climate to stir people into action; however, it is also critical that people are simultaneously presented with action plans to deal with the issue so that they would not fall into despair.63 It is also essential to tackle climate-related misinformation on social media platforms, and check the validity of reports shared in the news. A recent report revealed that climate misinformation, mostly presented without undergoing any checks or filters, is viewed millions of times on a daily basis.64

Finally, it is imperative that we prepare the healthcare system for the effects of climate change and integrate emergency psychological interventions as an indispensable part of disaster relief programs. Certain regions are at a disadvantage since their healthcare system is already fraught with problems, and yet those areas are usually where the effects of climate change are harsher. Therefore, healthcare system should be reinforced in such areas.65 Furthermore, short- and long-term emergency intervention plans should be devised to provide relief following disasters; and specialist should be trained. Since most psychological problems manifest themselves in the early stages after an extreme event, it is critical to ensure rapid diagnosis and intervention.66 


Increased environmental, social, and economic impacts of climate change trigger a psychological crisis on a global scale as well. Despite the massive numbers of people experiencing the psychological disturbances, climate-related psychological conditions have only recently been finding place in the mainstream. While it is receiving increased attention globally, awareness on the issue is still rather limited in Turkey.

Data obtained in our research revealed that while eco-anxiety is rather prevalent in Turkey, it remains undiagnosed. Therefore, it has not found itself room in the agenda yet; and is not being discussed. Since anxieties related to the economy, unemployment and education occupy top places  in Turkish agenda, they are discussed more, and people are interested in finding solutions to them. Consequently, climate change is pushed down. The society has not faced climate-change induced emotions so far, and as a result is not taking action to be part of the solution, rather expect others take action to tackle the problem. Additionally, young people have not given precedence to the matter in their agenda so far. As a result, compared to their global counterparts, they lag behind in terms of demanding and taking action.

Given all these reasons, studies and research to be carried out, particularly in Turkey, to investigate the adverse effects of climate change on mental health are of critical importance in order to mitigate and alleviate its impact. We hope our present report will be of assistance in terms of providing insight into the matter and help design action plans to tackle the issue.

Prepared by: Irmak Büyükutku, Seza Eraydın

Research partner: VeriNays Araştırma

Contributions: Simge Aydın

Design: Volkan Babaotu

December 2021


1, 3 Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.) (2021) Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Cambridge University Press. In Press. 

2, 8 World Meteorological Organization (2021) Atlas Of Mortality And Economic Losses From Weather, Climate And Water Extremes (1970–2019). 

4 Carrington, D. (2021) Climate crisis inflicting huge ‘hidden costs’ on mental health. The Guardian. 

5, 15 Williams, Marc. (2020) The relationship between climate change and mental health information-seeking: a preliminary investigation. Journal of Public Mental Health. ahead-of-print. 10.1108/JPMH-04-2020-0025. 

6 Connors, E. (2020) New APA Poll Reveals That Americans are Increasingly Anxious About Climate Change’s Impact on Planet, Mental Health. American Psychiatric Assocation. 

7, 14, 28 Comtesse H, Ertl V, Hengst SMC, Rosner R, Smid GE. (2021) Ecological Grief as a Response to Environmental Change: A Mental Health Risk or Functional Response? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; 18(2):734. 

9 Aljazeera (2021) Climate emergency: The most extreme weather events of 2021. 

10, 11, 19, 21 Whitcomb, I. (2021) Therapists Are Reckoning with Eco-anxiety. Scientific American. 

12, 17, 27, 31, 36, 42, 44, 58, 62 Taylor, M. & Murray, J. (2020) ‘Overwhelming and terrifying’: the rise of climate anxiety. The Guardian. 

13, 61 Fawbert, D. (2019) 'Eco-anxiety': how to spot it and what to do about it. The BBC. 

16, 56 Christensen, J. (2019) Climate anxiety is real, but there's something you can do about it. CNN. 

18 Bressler, R.D. (2021) The mortality cost of carbon, Nature Communications, 12, 4467. 

20 Panu, P. (2020) Anxiety and the Ecological Crisis: An Analysis of Eco-Anxiety and Climate Anxiety. Sustainability, 12, 7836. 

22 Griffin, P. (2017) The Carbon Majors Database. CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017. 

23 Gerlach, C. (2021) Why Is It My Fault? The Shifting of Personal Responsibility in Environmental Policy. The Observer. 

24 Timperley, J. (2020) Who is really to blame for climate change? The BBC. 

25, 39 Berman, R. (2021) Eco-anxiety: 75% of young people say ‘the future is frightening’. Medical News Today. 

26, 30, 32, 35 Cianconi, P., Betro S., Janiri, L. (2020) The Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health: A Systematic Descriptive Review, Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. 

29 Clement, Viviane; Rigaud, Kanta Kumari; de Sherbinin, Alex; Jones, Bryan; Adamo, Susana; Schewe, Jacob; Sadiq, Nian; Shabahat, Elham. (2021) Groundswell Part 2: Acting on Internal Climate Migration, World Bank. 

33 Whitcomb, I. (2021) Climate anxiety and PTSD are on the rise. Therapists don’t always know how to cope. The Guardian. 

34 Alford, J & Levey, S. (2021) Healthcare must count costs of climate-driven mental illness and eco distress. Imperial College London. 

37, 41, 65 Charlson, F. (2019) The rise of 'eco-anxiety': climate change affects our mental health, too. The Conversation. 

38 SDG Knowledge Hub (2021) Climate Anxiety Highlighted at Youth Environment Assembly, International Institute for Sustainable Development. 

40 Gregory, A. (2021) ‘Eco-anxiety’: fear of environmental doom weighs on young people. The Guardian. 

43 Hunt, E. (2019) BirthStrikers: meet the women who refuse to have children until climate change ends. The Guardian. 

45 Schlein, L. (2019) ILO: Climate Change Will Lead to Huge Job, Economic Losses. Voa News. 

46 Helm, T. (2021) Eco-anxiety over climate crisis suffered by all ages and classes. The Guardian. 

47 Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu (2021) İşgücü İstatistikleri, 2020. 

48 KONDA Araştırma ve Danışmanlık & Yuvam Dünya (2021) “Türkiye’de İklim Değişikliği Algısı” Araştırma Sonuçları. 

49, 57, 60 Harrington, S. (2020) How climate change affects mental health. Yale Climate Connections. 

50, 55, 66 Clayton, S., Manning, C. M., Krygsman, K., & Speiser, M. (2017). Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, and ecoAmerica. 

51 Huizen, J. (2019) What to know about eco-anxiety. Medical News Today 

52, 54 Baker, C. (2021) Climate disasters will strain our mental health system. It’s time to adapt. The Washington Post. 

53, 59 Plautz, J. (2020) The Environmental Burden of Generation Z.  The Washington Post 

63 Willycard, C. (2017) Going full Doomsday: Reporters must convey the perils of climate change without paralyzing their audience. Columbia Journalism Review 

64 Stop Funding Heat (2021) In denial – Facebook's growing friendship with climate misinformation