WHO urges government authorities to include mental health support in climate change action plans

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has in a new policy launched on Friday, June 3, 2022, at the Stockholm+50 environmental summit asked that mental health support must be included in the national response to climate change in all countries across the world. 

According to the study done on climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states climate change presents substantial dangers to mental and physical health, including emotional discomfort, anxiety, sadness, sorrow, and suicidal tendencies. 

WHO claimed that climate change impacts several socio-economic variables that contribute to huge mental health costs globally. Only 9 of 95 countries examined in 2021, integrated mental health issues along with psychosocial assistance in their mental health and climate change policies. 

“The impacts of climate change are increasingly part of our daily lives, and there is very little dedicated mental health support available for people and communities dealing with climate-related hazards and long-term risk,” said Dr. Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. 

However, WHO urges all governments to integrate climate considerations with mental health programs, merge mental health support with climate action, and build upon their global commitments. 

It also advises authorities to develop community-based approaches to reduce vulnerabilities and close the large funding gap that currently exists for mental health and psychosocial support. 

“WHO’s Member States have made it very clear that mental health is a priority for them. We are working closely with countries to protect people’s physical and mental health from climate threats,” said Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, the WHO climate lead, and an IPCC lead author.  Lastly, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres in his address called on all nations to do more to protect the basic human right to a clean and healthy environment for all.