Climate anxiety affects the population of Rio Grande do Sul amid extreme phenomena in RS; understand

Climate anxiety affects the population of Rio Grande do Sul amid extreme phenomena in RS; understand
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The consequences of the climate crisis go beyond the environment, directly affecting the mental health of the population facing it, according to research by Harvard Health Publishing. Although very little discussed, the climate anxiety is being incorporated as a concept to understand the mental health of people harmed by climate change. A case that has been intensifying in Rio Grande do Sul with new forecasts of rain and flooding for the region.

In an interview with Forumthe psychologist from Porto Alegre, Fábio Dal Molin, states that anxiety itself is a natural reaction of the body to situations of imminent danger. “Climate catastrophes are extreme situations similar to wars. This can be called climate anxiety. It is the psychic and physiological reaction to extreme traumatic situations.” According to him, anxiety is a disorder that has affected humanity since the beginning of significant traumatic events, such as the proliferation of plagues, diseases, awakenings of conflicts and wars.

Risky situations arouse anxiety

“At the end of the Second World War in Europe and the USA, anxiety became an epidemic that led central countries to a wave of collective mental health policies in order to keep the economically active population productive and rebuild the post-war capitalist world. It was a time when psychology, psychoanalysis and psychiatry gained the importance and relevance they have today, in addition to psychiatric medications”, recalls Molin. However, studying the effects of climate crises is new to the psychiatric field. “The psychology of emergencies and disasters is a relatively recent field, although psychology and the idea of ​​collective mental health have spread widely throughout the world precisely following the catastrophes of war.”

In Brazil, there are policies aimed at mental health, but it is important to note that are not properly applied in these cases, according to Molin: “Through a large movement of mental health workers, Brazil developed one of the most sophisticated mental health care policies in the world in the 1988 Constitution: the anti-asylum policy”, he says, however, “as seen in the current climate tragedy, political and sociological factors are fundamental in improving collective mental life. The Brazilian paradox is that the State management models went in the opposite direction, that of neoliberalism as the management of psychological suffering and individualism.”

Combating climate anxiety

For the specialist, it is necessary that gauchos receive all the reception possible at this time. “What we can do as professionals ends up being more important than what we can do as citizens, we must welcome, hug, cry together and reach for clothes, food, blankets, water, offer shelter”, emphasizes Molin.

“Psychology and psychiatry can help a lot, even with the large number of people diagnosed with serious disorders and who need management, referral and specific medications. And therein lies the problem, as the last governments scrapped the embryonic mental health policy and the rains caused the rest of the destruction.”

Another problem that could increase climate anxiety in Rio Grande do Sul is the saturation of the subject itself in other states, due to the extensive mediatization of the tragedies, while the emotional reaction to the effects of the climate effects by the people of Rio Grande do Sul only grows, as it will be necessary to reconstruct the dynamics of people’s lives, the affected municipalities themselves and a large number of donations and care, especially with fake news shared on the internet.

According to the psychologist, “research that shows that in the digitalized world everything moves faster and can increase or decrease in size, whether in solidarity, panic or fake news, which today form a belt of parallel reality on social networks, serving the current interests of surveillance capitalism” , and to face this, governments must “increasingly invest in real democracy and in the social appropriation of digital media.”

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Climate anxiety affects population Rio Grande Sul extreme phenomena understand

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