Addressing the psychological effects of global warming

As the world watches in horror the death and destruction that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate concerns have also come to the fore. Not only concerns about Putin’s implied threat to use nuclear weapons, but the role that fossil fuels – particularly natural gas, more accurately called methane – have played in giving Russia such leverage in the energy sector European. A phenomenon called “climate anxiety” or “climate grief” has come out of the closet, as more and more people around the world – especially, but not exclusively, young people – try to understand what the climate crisis means for them. personally in their own lives.

Dr. Lise Van Susteren is a practicing psychiatrist in Washington, DC, specializing in forensic psychiatry, often serving as an expert witness in court cases. She is a co-founder of the Climate Psychiatry Alliance and sits on the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

In 2011, Dr. Van Susteren co-authored “The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States – Why America’s Mental Health System Is Unprepared”. Between the lines, Melinda Tuhus spoke with Dr. Van Susteren, who discusses the need to equip therapists to deal with the climactic grief and anger of people who come to them for help, and the implications broader policies.

For more information, visit Dr. Lise Van Susteren’s website at and the Climate Psychiatry Alliance at climatic and on Twitter @ClimatePsychia1 and on Facebook at

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Teresa H. Sadler