- Sputnik International, 1920
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Finnish Mental Health Groups Warn of Spike in Climate Anxiety Among Children, Youths

CC0 / Pixabay / A young woman
A young woman  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.09.2022
So-called “eco-anxiety” manifests itself through depression, fears, tearfulness, frustration, irritation and concerns about the future. It is fueled by news and social media that broadcast the message of imminent climate catastrophe.
Climate anxiety among children and young people has soared in Finland, and is set to increase further in the future, Finnish mental health organization Tunne has warned.
According to its director Taneli Saari, this underlines how the effects of climate change are becoming more tangible, as young people have “clearly become more anxious.”
The association, which is a partner of Mieli, Finland's largest and oldest mental health group, offers opportunities for dealing with heavy feelings and thoughts related to climate and environmental change through counselling, workshops and other activities. Tunne admits that it has seen a spike in worried children seeking help.
According to Saari, climate anxiety can manifest itself very concretely, and dark emotions ranging from sadness to anger can be caused by, for example, warmer winters, the felling of a nearby forest, or the threat of animal species going extinct. According to him, children's climate anxiety can originate from many directions: news or social media, topics discussed at school or, for example, debates within one's own close circle.
Meanwhile, the Mannerheim Child Protection League (MLL) said that climate anxiety is rarely addressed as a separate problem and is typically seen as an additional burden in an otherwise distressing life situation or state of mind.
According to Tatjana Pajamäki of the MLL, climate anxiety in children and young people manifests itself very similarly to other forms of anxiety: as fears, tearfulness, frustration, irritation and concerns about the future.

“This summer has brought to the fore how the effects of climate change are starting to become even more tangible here in Finland as well. Some young people are already clearly more anxious, and I believe that children will also be exposed to these things even more. In Finland, the issue of climate change only started to be dealt with more visibly after the 2018 global climate warming report,” Saari said, as quoted by broadcaster MTV.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, released in October 2018, called for rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all spheres of life and society in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg speaks at Festival Park as the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 1, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.11.2021
'She Says Everyone's an Idiot': Former Norwegian PM and Climate Pioneer Slams Greta Thunberg
Ever since, the message of imminent man-made environmental catastrophe has been channeled by mainstream media, with politicians often jumping on the green agenda in hopes of boosting their careers. Climate anxiety in children and adolescents has been arguably best embodied by the phenomenon of Greta Thunberg, a teenage girl with numerous mental health diagnoses, who rose to international fame through solitary protests against her government, demanding decisive action against climate change.
In 2021, a large cross-university international study with thousands of respondents found that climate change was causing distress, anger and other negative emotions in children and young people worldwide. 'Eco-anxiety' was found to have a negative impact on respondents’ daily lives, with researchers stressing that it was at least partly caused by the feeling that governments aren’t doing enough to avoid a climate catastrophe.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала