This month, British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University (SFU) is holding “climate change anxiety and grief” seminars for students with a clinical psychologist. 

According to the university’s student services page, the climate change anxiety seminars helps students “understand different types of climate change distress and offer some strategies to cope.” 

Two sessions are being held on January 24 and March 3 – at the university’s Burnaby campus and Surrey campus respectively. 

Leading the seminar is registered clinical counsellor and psychologist Shona Adams. 

“She is humbly aware of her white privilege and is passionate with facilitating people to reach their full potential within a caring and empowering environment,” writes her biography.

Listed in the seminar are the following learning outcomes: understanding the symptoms of climate change anxiety and grief, learning to cope with climate change anxiety and grief and finding out how to access further help and support. 

The seminars are part of a research study and if participants opt in to participate will have a chance at winning a $100 gift card. 

“This seminar is also part of a research study on understanding different interventions that people with different levels of climate change distress find helpful, and has ethical approval,” writes SFU. 

Last year, Health Canada published an assessment report on the effects of climate change as it relates to health. 

The report titled Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate claimed that climate change increases the risk of mental health impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. 

“Studies are also showing that people can become distressed about climate change itself, resulting in increased anxiety (often termed eco- or climate anxiety), grief (often termed eco-grief or climate grief), worry, anger, hopelessness, and fear,” claimed the report.

“Even people who are indirectly exposed to climate-related hazards can experience poor mental health outcomes, including vicarious trauma, secondary stress, and/or compassion fatigue for those whose lives have been disrupted by extreme events.”

A 2020 survey by the Department of Public Safety found that following the worldwide climate marches that year, 57% of kids were rating the threat of climate change as more grave than guns and illegal drug use. 

“Youth are significantly more likely to identify climate change as an extremely serious issue, but they are less likely to identify illegal drug use as an extremely serious issue,” claimed the survey.