Concurrent Sessions 8 | Feb 21, 2020 > (CS8-HE) Impacts of Climate Change on Mental Health (Oral presentations)

(CS8-HE) Impacts of Climate Change on Mental Health (Oral presentations)

posted on 5:24 PM, November 17, 2019

Moderator: Halina Rachelson

Ka pimthatek pakthehnamoowin / A Journey of Hope in St. Theresa Point First Nation

Presenters: Lewis Archer and Tyrone Munroe

Climate change is directly impacting St. Theresa Point First Nation and other communities across the north, which are experiencing more frequent and extreme events that pose a risk to the communities’ safety and security. St. Theresa Point is most concerned with the compounding damage to mental health that can result from an extreme climate event and its consequential aftermath. In 2017 St. Theresa Point  was evacuated to Winnipeg following severe wildfires. Research has demonstrated a link between acute natural disasters and extreme psychological reactions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using a disaster-tested, evidence-based program, St. Theresa Point is helping children, teenagers and their caregivers strengthen their coping skills and reestablish a sense of security and trust in response to climate extremes and disasters. In other disaster settings, the program has been shown to help minimize feelings of fear, anger and sadness and to reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Navigating Mental Health Care in a Changing Climate

Presenter: Katie Hayes

In 2013, High River, Alberta experienced a super flood that displaced the entire community. The mental health implications of this event reverberate  five years later. This presentation explores the availability and accessibility of mental health care (both public sector and community-based) before, during and after the flood. It explores how High Riverites, particularly those most marginalized, navigated mental health care before, during, and after the flood until the present day.

Original research findings from an empirical study of the psychosocial consequences of climate change and community-based mental health responses in High River will be presented by the lead researcher of this study. Participants will learn key takeaways, such as the role that mental health and climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessments can play in supporting mental health following climate change-related extreme weather.