Environmental anxiety: psychiatrist confirms seeing “waves of people finding it difficult to envision themselves in a future that appears increasingly bleak” – franceinfo

the summer, “We’re seeing waves of people struggling to present themselves in a future that looks increasingly bleak,” Contact psychiatrist Antoine Belisolo, Head of Department at CHU Henri-Mondor de Créteil and co-author of the book Climate change sentimentOn Sunday 7 August on franceinfo, France is affected by a severe drought.

franceinfo: cases of environmental concern (climate change concern) Does it increase a lot in the face of drought, heat waves and fires?

Antoine Belisolo: Every year, unfortunately, more or less at the same time, especially in the summer, we see more and more of this kind of weather event, both severe and close to us, on our lands, and we see waves of people having a hard time projecting themselves into a seemingly future Increasingly bleak. The first blow is a blow of stress and shock, but some will also go into a tunnel of anxiety, pain and sometimes depression too when there is a loss of hope. The term environmental concern was born in the year 2000 in the United States and is now being talked about more and more because the number of people affected is increasing. We see many people who have this topic in their set of concerns. For some, it is the main topic, especially among young people. Surveys show that this area of ​​interest is beginning to spread more and more.

What is the profile of people who suffer the most?

It can affect everyone, we see it of all ages, but mostly 20-30 year olds because they feel affected and anxious for their existence. In the next tens of years, the rise in temperature, and the resources that decrease can affect its existence.

“Whereas earlier generations often thought about their children or grandchildren, there is a realization today that it can affect your own life.”

Antoine Belisolo, psychiatrist

in franceinfo

It raises the question of whether or not to have children, the mode of consumption, the choice of labour. These are legitimate questions but, in some cases, they go beyond questioning. It can be something discouraging that causes great suffering to some.

What is the attitude to follow to gain serenity?

What we advise is to get help first when necessary. There is as much potential to manage stress in the face of this topic as it is in the face of others. The question of speech is important, participation, the ability to listen.

“There is fear but there is also anger at general inaction and guilt as well.”

Antoine Belisolo

in franceinfo

It’s good to share with others who can hear it. It’s not always easy because sometimes we come across people who still deny global warming. In addition, you must align your actions with your fears. It’s always the way out. This is how you manage to turn your anxiety into something that can be somewhat productive where you are useful, you feel useful.

Should people worried about the environment stop learning about global warming?

As with all negative information, we can’t close our eyes. Ostrich work is not a good strategy. You can’t tell people not to know. Awareness always comes from researching information, reading, IPCC reports on global warming…but you need to know how to direct, not permanently expose yourself. At first, the shock of consciousness often needs to explore everything, trying to get all the elements about the ways to act and the consequences. What we generally advise is to discourage it, give yourself time to detach from the information and take the time to mature things, to take a short walk. But this is true for all the information that can be distressing.


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