By: Claudine Chalfant
NORTH CAROLINA — Former Vice President Al Gore isn’t the only one concerned about the environment, as more and more people are starting to become aware of global warming and experiencing ‘eco-anxiety.’
“People are afraid of the future, they’re afraid of what’s going to happen,” said licensed therapist Melissa Pickett, saying of one patient, “She brought up during the course of our session that she had just read an article about the polar bears and the loss of habitat and she started crying … she said ‘I just don’t understand this.'”
Pickett said fears about the environment are sending some people into a panic. The mental health disorder has grown enough to gain the ‘eco-anxiety’ name.
“It’s causing them to feel anxiety, it’s causing them to feel depression, it’s causing them to have insomnia,” said general practitioner Cynthia Knudsen of patients.
Debra Kincaid is so gripped by the environment and the future of the planet, she can’t even force herself to throw away a broken coffee maker. She has chosen to have it repaired instead.
“It can almost make you want to bury your head in the sand with a sense of hopelessness,” she said. “If everybody tosses their coffee maker into the landfill then pretty soon that’s all we have.”
Pickett said patients think they have to make big changes in their life, when the little things might be what matters most. Things like recycling, turning off lights, unplugging electrical items and carpooling can go a long way to ease the problem.
Children can also suffer from anxiety over the planet. Experts suggest getting them involved in a recycling program or planting a garden.