May 30, 2024

If you experience climate anxiety, you are not alone in sadness, anger, fear, apathy, or grief.

Three kids walking in the forestFor many of us living in the Pacific Northwest, the summer forecast of extreme heat and dry weather can stir up anxiety, depression and past trauma around heat waves, wildfires and smoky air enveloping our communities.

A person sits on a couch with eyes closed wearing headphonesOur daily lives can be impacted by the distress of people and living creatures around us, the temperatures we feel, our changing natural environment, and from the air we breathe. It’s typical to experience heavy emotions during this time when so much is out of our individual control. Fortunately, there are several things that we can do to help process our feelings of climate anxiety.

To protect and maintain our mental health and well being, the Behavioral Health and Wellness Prevention Team and Office of Sustainability recommend these simple and free ideas to try if and when you experience climate anxiety.
Members of the Climate Justice Plan Steering Committee talk while sitting around a tableSurround yourself with green. 

Whether it’s enjoying a view of trees and plants, tending to a garden, sitting or moving your body in nature, or even watching a video of green spaces, surrounding yourself with natural elements can lower depression, anxiety and help regulate our emotions. Living here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to be near trees, gardens, and parks. 

Two people sitting in wheelchairs talking inside a cafeTurn on some music.

Listening to music is shown to elevate your mood and mental health. Check out this playlist from One 5 C to get in the groove. 

Learn about climate action locally and around the world.

Educating yourself on how people all around the world and especially in your community are doing something about the climate crisis can help you feel more empowered and able to contribute.

Connect with others.

Finding a supportive community, or even just one other person to talk with can help ease feelings of isolation. You are not alone in sadness, anger, fear, apathy, or grief. 

If you or someone you care about are experiencing a mental health crisis or are in need of mental health resources, please contact the Multnomah County Behavioral Health Call Center at 503.988.4888. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.