Increased media focus on climate change and the harm done to the environment has caused anxiety in many children. This condition, called "eco-anxiety," has not been officially listed as a mental health condition. But psychology professionals have already discussed its effects.
Eco-anxiety can foster "feelings of loss, fear and helplessness," as well as insomnia and depressed moods, according to the New Zealand Herald. Young activist Greta Thunberg learned how waste affects animals when she was a child and was unable to shake these discouraging thoughts from her mind. Now she campaigns for better climate awareness and change.
It's normal for children to be negatively affected by the pronouncements of doom made by the media. But contrary to what television might say, not all hope is lost. If your child struggles with eco-anxiety, limit their screen time and ensure that they spend time outdoors.
If your actions show your children that you care about the environment (through recycling or reducing vehicle use, for example), they will have a chance to view the situation positively (Linda Blair). Click here to learn more about this developing cause of anxiety.