What is Eco-Anxiety?

From time to time we all experience feelings of worry, discomfort and unease. But when these feelings are continuous, whether mild or severe, they can cause changes in our behaviour. In some cases the impacts can be debilitating. This is referred to as anxiety. Eco-anxiety is simply the state of anxiety brought on by the fear of our climate crisis and the lack of control one feels about it. While it is not a diagnosable condition on its own, experts are reporting increasing rates of mental health warnings related to the state of the environment. In 2020, patients expressing eco-anxiety was reported by half of England’s child psychiatrists.

At the University of St Andrews awareness of eco-anxiety is growing. From research into its prevalance to community group sessions, a programme is underway to better support our community through the challenges of climate change.

In this area, Transition works closely with student groups to deliver support services and climate change awareness workshops.

Areas of Action

Attention to eco-anxiety is on the rise. At the Univeristy there are a number of initiatives.

Climate Café

In 2021, University of St Andrews’ Rector’s Committee and Transition St Andrews launched eco-anxiety cafés for students, staff and community members of St Andrews. The cafes are a thinking and feeling space where attendees can freely talk about their worries over climate change

Eco Worrier, Eco Warrier

At the Univeristy’s Centre for Energy and Ethics, “Eco-Worrier, Eco-Warrier” is a research project led by Dr. Bridget Bradley. It explores how eco-anxiety affects one’s daily life and how participation in climate action can lead to eco-anxiety.

Click here to find out more.

University-Wide Eco-Anxiety Survey

Led on by the School Sustainability Reps, the survey is part of a growing effort to build a better support network for students and staff struggling with environment-related distress.

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