When it comes to climate change, studies have shown that youth are more likely to report mental health concerns in comparison to older generations. Emerging research underlines that youth who enroll in environmental classes consistently report increased levels of stress as a result of their heightened awareness of planetary health challenges. Unfortunately, though there are increasing numbers of people who will be affected by the mental health impacts of climate change, factors such as psychological distance and denial influence the way individuals form their beliefs and take action on this issue. In response to the need for more innovative teaching tools in undergraduate curricula, as well as the eagerness of youth to learn about planetary health, a 25-minute film and accompanying toolkit were created focusing on the relationship between mental health and climate change. In addition to climate change experts, the film features UBC students who were previously enrolled in the UBC nursing elective course NURS 290: Health Impacts of Climate Change. The educational toolkit uses knowledge mobilization and health promotion strategies based on the Transtheoretical Model of Change. The film and toolkit are tools designed for use by educators to empower students to think critically about the structural and socio-political inequities that affect them while centering climate change and mental health through embedded reflective exercises. By featuring the voices of students, this project is not only relevant and impactful but also addresses the diverse learning needs of students.
Exploring Climate Change and Mental Health by Natania Abebe, MSN/MPH(c), BScN, RN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.