Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to a mental health provider in the remote West Australian town of Geraldton, climate anxiety is causing big problems for the local youth.
Climate change, natural disasters behind rising anxiety in Geraldton youth: mental health provider
A youth mental health provider says there has been a steady increase in the number of young people presenting with anxiety in Geraldton this year.
- Headspace says climate change, threat of natural disasters and COVID are affecting young people’s mental health
- The Geraldton clinic has seen an increase in young people with anxiety
- Experts say looking after key wellbeing aspects can lower anxiety
Headspace Geraldton manager Fiona Stewart said numbers were split evenly between males and females.
“We have definitely seen a gradual increase in numbers of young people presenting with anxiety rather than depression, and comorbidity definitely with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety,” she said.
“It’s unfortunate but I’m not surprised because nationally, young people are presenting into Headspace [clinics] with increased levels of anxiety, so we’re not alone in that.”
Ms Stewart said Tropical Cyclone Seroja and climate changes were common concerns underlying the youths’ anxiety, with people as young as 12 asking for help.
“We’re definitely seeing some themes around the comorbidity for young people,” she said.
Geraldton is also suffering a raging meth abuse epidemic, which might be contributing to the mental health crisis.
But its a real question which came first – the ice abuse or the climate anxiety? In 2019, a renowned drug abuse doctor Alex Wodak testified to a government inquiry that fear of climate change is driving young people to destroy their lives with hard drugs. Climate change wasn’t the only factor, but it was a significant contributing factor.
If you tell kids the world will end soon, and they’re doomed to a horrible miserable death, don’t be surprised if they don’t smile as much as they used to.