SAMHSA DTAC April 2024 Bulletin: Coping With Behavioral Health Impacts of Climate Change

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Apr 9, 2024, 2:43:21 PMApr 9
Greetings members,

Below we are sharing the content from the most recent SAMHSA DTAC Bulletin, focused on Climate Change and Disaster Behavioral Health.

To subscribe directly to the Bulletin and other SAMHSA DTAC publications, click here

Please respond to this thread to share any other resources, ask questions, or share your thoughts on this topic.  

Coping With Behavioral Health Impacts of Climate Change

Rising seas, severe flooding, drought, wildfires, and other natural disasters are threatening more communities as the world’s climate changes at an accelerated rate, causing damage to life and property and affecting mental health. Understanding climate change and its impacts on mental health can help individuals, communities, first responders, and other healthcare and mental health providers better understand and tailor their responses to behavioral health issues that arise as people experience climate change and its effects on their environment. The American Counseling Association has found that the changing climate impacts mental health in three ways: 1) thinking about climate change can cause ecological and eco-anxiety in addition to despair and hopelessness; 2) existing mental health issues may be amplified during climate change or climate change-fueled disasters; and 3) mental health issues can be caused directly by climate change in survivors of floods, fires, drought, excessive heat, or displacement because of disasters.

The resources below explore strategies, key information, and important next steps for behavioral health professionals, individuals, and communities impacted by climate change-related disasters.

Climate Change and Trauma

Survey ImageDeveloped by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, this website has a podcast, recommendations for public health research, a fact sheet, advice on how to respond to climate change as a public health emergency, and additional information on community resilience and mental health in the face of climate change.

How Extreme Weather Events Affect Mental Health

Survey ImageThe American Psychiatric Association provides education and resources on this website for individuals, communities, and disaster planners. The site reviews how heat, air pollution, infectious disease, and nutrition are being impacted by climate change and how this affects mental health. Resources provided include the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Risk Index, online information from SAMHSA, and many other items.

What Do Natural Disasters Mean for Our Mental Health?

Survey ImageThis podcast was created by the U.S. Surgeon General and features clinical psychologist and trauma specialist Dr. Rosaura Orengo-Aguayo. In this episode, Dr. Orengo-Aguayo talks about how she helped thousands of people in Puerto Rico with Psychological First Aid, how we can respond to children experiencing trauma from natural disasters, and how our mental health is impacted by natural disasters that are becoming stronger due to climate change.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Survey ImageThe U.S. Global Change Research Program made this detailed guide on how to build resilience to climate change repercussions. Aimed at individuals and communities, this toolkit has national projections, funding opportunities, a climate explorer, and customizable search options for local and regional organizations. It also offers education on possible climate hazards, case studies, and informational videos.

If you have any questions or if you would like additional information, please reach out to the SAMHSA DTAC team at 1-800-308-3515 or via e-mail at

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