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Study on Climate Concerns & “Eco-Anxiety” in Children Receives International Attention

September 14, 2022

Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) Associate Research Scientist Laelia Benoit, M.D., Ph.D. is a French and Brazilian child and adolescent psychiatrist who work has focused on early intervention in psychosis, anxious school refusal, and access to care for minorities. More recently, her attention has shifted to the impact of climate change on the mental health of children and adolescents.

Benoit’s study titled The Climate Emotions and Actions in Children and Adolescents has attracted attention in France's top national newspaper, Le Monde, with a feature about young people's commitment to fighting climate change. The article title quotes Benoit, “Anxiety is an inevitable, and even healthy, response to ecological threats.”

“Eco-anxiety describes emotional, mental or physical distress in response to the climate crisis," explains Benoit. “The term climate change anxiety is often used as a synonym. Eight out of ten young people are concerned about the climate, and six out of ten say they are extremely worried. Half of them feel sadness, anxiety, anger, helplessness, and guilt all at once. And almost as many say their daily lives are disrupted by these emotions.”

Benoit was interviewed in a podcast produced by the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health last October, where she talked in depth about the anxiety and grief of the ecological crisis.

Submitted by Crista Marchesseault on September 13, 2022