Aug 11, 2022
When it comes to climate change, we've all heard about droughts and flooding and the impact on agriculture and infrastructure from extreme weather events such as hurricanes. However, we may not hear as much about climate change's physical and mental health consequences.
Natural disasters can negatively impact health and emotional well-being. People who are affected by extreme weather events and slow-moving disasters, such as droughts, face a wide range of challenges in their lives. Mental health repercussions of climate change events include mild stress and anguish, high-risk coping behaviors such as increased alcohol use, and occasionally mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Lise Van Susteren is an expert on climate change's physical and psychological impacts. She earned her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and has been researching climate change since 2007. She has written several books on the subject, including The Heat Is On: The Science, Politics, and Solutions to Global Warming (2016) and The Climate Crisis: Dispatches from the Front Lines (2017). In this episode, she shares knowledge on climate change, how it affects the health of many people, and what actions we must take to get better.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
Guest: Dr. Lise Van Susteren
Dr. Lise Van Susteren is a general and forensic psychiatrist in Washington, DC, and an expert on the physical and psychological impacts of climate change. In 2011 she co-authored "The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the U.S. - Why the US Mental Health System Is Not Prepared". Van Susteren is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University and has been a consultant to the Executive Branch of the US government profiling world leaders.
After receiving her medical degree from the University of Paris she practiced medicine in West Africa, at community health centers and homeless shelters in metropolitan Washington DC. In addition to community organizing on climate issues, Van Susteren serves on the Boards of Earth Day Network, and Physicians for Social Responsibility and is a co-founder of "Climate Psychiatry Alliance," and “Climate Psychology Alliance – North America “, professional groups dedicated to promoting awareness and action on climate from a mental health perspective. Van Susteren is the expert witness on the psychological damages to young people from inaction on climate in Juliana v US Government, in Held v Montana and in the European Court of Human Rights.
She is a frequent contributor on television, radio, and in print media. In 2006 Dr. Van Susteren sought the Democratic nomination to the US Senate from Maryland. Her book, “Emotional Inflammation – Discover Your Triggers and Reclaim Your Equilibrium During Anxious Times” was published in April 2020.