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Climate Anxiety: Addressing the Psychological Effects of Global Warming – Between The Lines

As the world watches in horror the death and destruction that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate concerns have also come to the fore. Not just concerns about Putin’s implicit threat to use nuclear weapons, but the role that fossil fuels – especially natural gas, more accurately called methane – have played in giving Russia so much influence in Europe’s energy sector. A phenomenon called “climate anxiety” or “climate grief” has come out of the closet, as more people around the world – especially, but not exclusively, young people – attempt to come to grips with what the climate crisis means for them personally in their own lives.

Dr. Lise Van Susteren is a practicing psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., who specializes in forensic psychiatry, often serving as an expert witness in court cases. She’s co-founder of the Climate Psychiatry Alliance and serves on the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

In 2011, Dr. Van Susteren co-authored, “The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the U.S. – Why the U.S. Mental Health System Is Not Prepared.” Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Dr. Van Susteren, who discusses the need to equip therapists to address the climate grief and anger of individuals who come to them for help, as well as the broader political implications.  

For more information, visit Dr. Lise Van Susteren’s website at lisevansusteren.com and the Climate Psychiatry Alliance at climatepsychiatry.org and on Twitter @ClimatePsychia1 and on Facebook at facebook.com/ClimatePsychiatryAlliance/.

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