#07: Eco-Anxiety And Climate Change: Policy Brief

Eco-anxiety is the distress caused by post-traumatic climate change, making people anxious about their future. If people suffer from severe anxiety, sustaining themselves psychologically or physically will be challenging. Thus, eco-anxiety and climate anxiety emerge as potential problems for environmental and sustainability literacy, depending on their manifestations. The literature suggests that there is no research on how to influence policy or what policy should look like in strengthening the community’s mental capacity to cope with climate impacts as a not-so-distant reality. The Malaysian National Policy on Climate Change acknowledges that the effects of climate change could affect human well-being and the environment; nevertheless, the policy does not explicitly mention mental health.

Due to the scarcity of research on eco-anxiety, our project will clarify the need to integrate mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) within policies and programmes dealing with climate change and health in managing eco-anxiety symptoms. Hence, this project will analyse the existing policy and regulatory mechanism on climate change and whether it addresses human health and well-being. Secondly, this project aims to propose an integration of MHPSS within policies and programmes dealing with climate change and health and to suggest the integration of climate change considerations into policies for mental health, primarily to protect the rights of those most vulnerable, such as young people and those connected to the natural world.

The research design of this study is the design and development research (DDR), which will employ qualitative and quantitative approaches and expert verification (Fussy Delphi). The results significantly contribute to climate change policy to protect the affected communities from eco-anxiety, ensure environmental sustainability, ensure healthy lives, and promote well-being for all ages (SDG 3).

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