The CPA has identified five major topic areas that define Climate Psychiatry as an evolving field. The following is a growing collection of short reviews by CPA members on pertinent subjects within each of these five major topic areas of Climate Psychiatry. (See Overview for a short outline of these topic areas.)

One of the best overviews of mental health aspects of Climate Change and should be considered standard foundation of introduction to subject here.  

If you would like to contribute a short review on a topic of interest that is not covered, please contact

Impacts of Major Disasters

Hurricane Rita rampaging through the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Rita rampaging through the Gulf of Mexico


Natural Disasters from Climate Change
What Every Psychiatrist Needs to Know in Response
— Anthony T. Ng, MD, DPAPA
Chairperson American Psychiatric Association Caucus on Mental Health
and Climate Change

The correlations of climate change on the increased incidence and severity of natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, extreme snowstorms and subsequent adverse impact on the health and mental health of populations have been well documented.  Climate change can influence the timing, intensity and duration of these events. More...

When Disasters Creep In — Impacts of Slow Events
— Robin Cooper, MD
The impacts of disasters due to extreme weather events, wildfires, floods are well documented and easy to visualize and comprehend; there is a one-two punch quality.  More complex are the slower developing disasters that emerge more gradually over time.  More...

Extreme Heat — More Than An Annoyance
Risks for Psychiatric Population
— Robin Cooper, MD
There are severe health risks with potential for mortality. Mentally ill patients are reported to die at twice  the rate of non-psychiatric population during extreme heat. (Bark, 1998) There are greater numbers of emergency room visits and hospitalizations during heat waves for patients with pre-exiting mental illness. More...

Suicide and Heat

— Robin Cooper, MD

Suicide deaths have received a lot of public and professional attention with the recent publication by the Centers for Disease Control of an unprecedented 30% increase in the US between 2000 and 2016; and the recent suicide deaths of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. More...

Be Cool — Stay Cool!
Eduational Flyer for Patients with Guides to Managing Extreme Heat. More...

Cooling off

Cooling off

Psychological Factors Related to Threat of Climate Disruptions

Psychic impacts

Psychic impacts

The Psychic Impacts of Chronic-Climate-Change Stress
— Janet Lewis, MD
An important emerging field at the intersection of mental health and climate is the exploration of the long term psychic effects of climate destabilization... However a more difficult question to explore relates to the other long term effects on us of a disrupted climate. More...

Can Action Reroute the Fear Pathways?
— Jack Gorman, MD
In the realm of climate science, some things are settled. The earth is warming because of human activities. Burning fossil fuels is the major contributor to climate. Raising beef is an important factor as well. Climate change has already had and will continue to have serious negative impacts on human physical and mental health and wellbeing. More...

Missing Home While Being Home: Solastalgia
— Anne Richardson, MD

Solastalgia is defined as a sense longing for the past. An uncomfortable mental experience of remembering what used to be and aching to return. Mostly experienced as a negative emotion; missing the past, happy times or places. More...

Psychic Defenses in Climate Change
—Jillan Cantor-Sackett, MD

One would be wise to wonder why, with all the factual scientific data, do we as a species dependent on the health of this planet, seem to ignore the warnings about our climate change emergency.  The British psychoanalyst Sally Weintrobe, in her book “Engaging with Climate Change : Psychoanalytic and interdisciplinary perspectives” describes the problem psychodynamically as being about anxiety. More...

Environmental Impacts

Coping with fossil-fuel pollution

Coping with fossil-fuel pollution

— James Fleming, MD

In recent years, the relationship between the adverse health effects of climate change and exposure to toxic chemicals and other pollutants has become clear. In the case of air pollutants and climate change, the connection is direct and closely correlated by virtue of a common element: combustion of fossil fuels. Burning of coal, oil and natural gas is the major human caused contribution to rising carbon dioxide (87%) levels. More...

Air Pollution
— Elizabeth Haase, MD
When fossil fuels burn, they release microscopic particles in the air, which comprise 80% of air pollution, along with ground ozone and industrial by-products.  Fossil fuel particles are defined in sizes of 1 micron (Ultrafine particles, or UFPs), 2.5 microns, (PM 2.5) and 10 microns (PM 10). Over 500 of the UFPs can fit across a single human hair: these particles are very, very small. More...

Social Determinants / Vulnerable Populations

The homeless are most vulnerable to temperature fluctuations

The homeless are most vulnerable to temperature fluctuations

Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on Minority Mental Health Populations
— Carissa Caban‐Aleman, MD

Research has demonstrated that climate change is already causing and will continue to cause a series of health impacts that vary across different populations in the United States. The level of vulnerability and climate change’s impact on different populations varies according to how much exposure it has to climate-change-related health risks; its capacity to respond to or cope with climate variability; and its capability to demand and advocate for appropriate community resources for coping with the current and future impacts of climate change.  More...

Social Determinants of Mental Health:
Ultimate Determinant of Climate Change Impacts

— Robin Cooper, MD
People’s health status and the community environments in which they live are among the most important factors in determining the ability to survive and thrive in the face of climate change.   More...

Vulnerable Populations: Implications for Mentally Ill
— Robin Cooper, MD

Although climate disruption is already affecting all of us now in some way and
will continue to worsen as climate effects increase, the effects are not uniform. The most vulnerable tend to be the youngest and oldest and those already sick, including the mentally ill. Additionally, poor people are and will continue to bear the brunt of climate change impacts. More...

Responses in Psychiatry: Sustainability/Adaptation and Mitigation/Resiliency

Developing resilience

Developing resilience

What is Transformational Resilience and how does it apply to the mental health and public health responses to the impacts of climate change?
— David Pollack, MD

The traumas resulting from more frequent and intense storms, floods, wildfires, heatwaves, droughts, and other acute and slower moving disasters, as well as chronic toxic stress (caused by property, environmental, and social losses, injuries and deaths, emerging or more prevalent illnesses, and other impacts generated by climate change) create and aggravate serious bio-psycho-social-spiritual problems.  More...

Climate Disruption and the Psychiatric Patient

— Burns Woodward, MD

Storms, floods, and fires caused by human-generated global warming correlate with elevated rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide.1 In the longer term, stress- and loss-related psychiatric disorders result from climate-related physical illness, economic disruption, migration, and violence. Limited coping skills and reduced socioeconomic resources make psychiatric patients especially vulnerable to these effects. In day-to-day practice, however, it can be difficult to connect these large-scale events with the treatment of individual patients. Identifying patients at risk for the psychiatric effects of climate disruption provides guidance to clinicians as they address these issues in treatment. More…

Solastalgia: A forest destroyed by wildfire

Solastalgia: A forest destroyed by wildfire