Climate change brings extraordinary and unforeseen challenges that necessitate new ways of thinking to build resilience against environmental change and risk. Current research is starting to investigate climate change affects to our psychological health among national populations (American Psychological Association and Climate for Health, 2017), however a major gap remains in research for communities already moving across lands and borders. This raises concerns over whether the MHPSS field is prepared and able to respond to psychological needs for these climate displaced communities.
Given that international law offers no routes to protection under current asylum processes for climate-related crises, we want to understand what psychological needs are facing communities at risk of displacement - with focus on stress, anxiety and depression indicators. By identifying the coping mechanisms and forms of therapy that can support climate-displaced communities in Atlanta, Bangladesh, and Kiribati we are aiming to measure people’s well-being while they adapt to their new settings to bring more concrete data to our understanding on resilience for climate migrants and refugees.
The research will also attempt to identify how climate-displaced communities can better connect to mental health services. This will involve studying current and established platform for care in public health, but also community-led support networks that involved in education and capacity-building. Based on our findings, we will be addressing how climate mental health can be integrated into existing platforms for better coordination and collaborative MHPSS responses for displaced communities.
We are currently forming a working group under this research agenda with those of particular experience working with communities migrating from or at risk of displacement in coastal towns, low-lying islands, and drought-impacted drylands.
External to and published independently of Between Borders
IN THE MEDIA
The World's First Climate Refugees
Climate Change Affecting Mental Health in northern Labrador