• Saara Lunawat

The Environment and Mental Health

Mental illnesses produce some of the most challenging health problems faced by society, accounting for vast numbers of hospitalizations, disabilities resulting in billions in lost productivity, and sharply elevated risks for suicide. The growing and the inevitable fear of losing our planet is undoubtedly doing no good to this issue as well.

Since mankind stepped foot on this planet it has changed and shaped the environment around it for its own benefit, stepping over wildlife and the well being of the planet itself for this comfortable life but, indeed, there must be a reaction to this torment, right?

Global Warming, floods, cyclones, droughts, and so much more came hurling in the way of mankind since the past decades. Now, the adults have made their choices, but what about us? And so, the fear continues every day in our young minds.

What if the effects are irreversible? What if we cannot fix this? What if we lose the planet as a whole? Questions like this may pop up often in your mind as well, it certainly does in most of us nowadays…

EARTH is smouldering. From Seattle to Siberia this summer, flames have consumed swathes of the northern hemisphere. One of 18 wildfires sweeping through California, among the worst in the state’s history, is generating such heat that it created its own weather. Fires that raged through a coastal area near Athens last week killed 91. Elsewhere people are suffocating in the heat. Roughly 125 have died in Japan as the result of a heatwave that pushed temperatures in Tokyo above 40°C for the first time. These are only a few of the horrifying headlines of the paper today!

Climate change and several other related disasters cause anxiety-related responses as well as chronic and severe mental health disorders. Flooding and prolonged droughts have been associated with elevated levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.

When people lose their homes to such disasters another flurry of negative responses such as stress, PTSD and even suicidal thoughts trouble the brain, there is a simple link to the environment around us and the well-being of our minds, it is time we step back and look at the picture the Earth has been painting for us since the past decade and more. She is dying, and we will with her if we don’t stop.

But one thing is for sure, that we are all in this together. Never forget that your feelings are valid. We can get through this together if we stay together, share feelings and fears because hope is still there, a wise man from one of my favourite factitious novels once said,

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Lets get through this, together.

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