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The growing understanding of the connection between climate change and mental health

Dr. Lise Van Susteren
Dr. Lise Van Susteren

Southwest Florida just went through the most intense climate event in modern history. When Hurricane Ian made landfall at the end of September it brought with it storm surge levels not seen in this part of Florida in more than 150 years, as well as 150 mile-an-hour sustained winds, forcing thousands of people from their homes and disrupting all of our lives.

While it might seem obvious that such an event would have an immediate negative impact on the mental well-being of those impacted, there is a growing understanding among mental health professionals that underlying concerns over possible future natural disasters is also weighing on many people’s minds. And there is growing evidence that the growing size and scope of natural disasters is being driven by climate change.

On today’s show we’re joined by a Washington, DC-based forensic psychiatrist who is an expert on the physical and psychological impacts of climate change. Besides her work as a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Lise Van Susteren co-founded the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, the Climate Psychiatry Alliance, and the Climate Psychology Alliance North America.

And she’s author of the 2020 book “Emotional Inflammation – Discover Your Triggers and Reclaim Your Equilibrium During Anxious Times.”

She spoke with us while in Southwest Florida working with people who were impacted by Hurricane Ian. If you would like to contact Dr. Susteren to talk have her talk to an organization you represent about issues around climate change and mental health, you can contact her at lvs350@me.com.