Trees From Above

“Our mental well-being is just as vulnerable to global warming as is our Earth.” - Unknown


CLIMATE CHANGE AND MENTAL HEALTH
 

The consequences of human activities on the climate are becoming more apparent as yearly rises in temperatures are already impacting biological, physical, and human social systems (UK Climate Risk Assessment, 2017). The world is witnessing extreme weather events strike more frequently and intensely. This summer alone saw widespread flooding triggered by abnormally heavy rainfalls and massive storm surges during hurricanes, as well as drought and wildfires on the other end of the extreme weather spectrum (ibid.). While the effects of climate change will differ around the world, governments and organizations must collaborate to mitigate carbon emissions and to prevent a continued rise in global temperatures, in addition to developing policies to improve infrastructure and that work to change behaviours that contribute towards global warming.

 

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of goals that are set to be achieved by 2030 that work to reduce climate change, improve health outcomes, and reduce inequalities around the globe. Within the SDGs, there are several areas which concern public health, as they create the social determinants of (mental) health, which includes access to education, food and water insecurity, exposure to violence, and housing. While the links between the UN SDGs and physical health are often clear, it can be difficult to assert how well the goals take into account the social determinants of mental health and well-being (Lund, 2018). Several SDGs can promote mental health while governments and organizations must work to ensure these actions are fulfilled, given that mental illness and emotional distress currently affect over a billion people worldwide (WHO, 2019).

 

Here at ParisWHO, we recognise that mental health and well-being in humans is a result of a complex combination of genetic, psychological, social, and lifestyle elements, as well as environmental exposures (IEEP, 2020). Therefore, 2021’s e-simulation theme, “Climate Change and Mental Health”, aims to bring awareness to two vital issues that are often overlooked as being associated with one another. 

 

Sub-themes

  • Extreme Weather

  • Food and Water Insecurity

  • The Urban Environment

  • Communicable Diseases

  • Economic and Social Impacts​

Download ParisWHO 2021 Theme Guide