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255th Podcast Interview: Dr. Lise van Susteren Discusses the Psychological Effects of the Climate Crisis (March 18th)

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In a survey published late last year in The Lancet Planetary Health, coauthored by Dr. van Susteren, 10,000, 16-25 year olds across 10 countries including the US were surveyed to assess their level of climate anxiety and the beliefs about government responses to the climate crisis.  The survey found: 75% thought the climate crisis posed a frightening future; 66% were left afraid, anxious or sad; 60% were very or extremely worried about global warming; and, 56% thought humanity is consequently doomed.   Concerning governments' response to the climate crisis: 65% agreed governments were failing them; 64% agreed governments were lying about climate crisis-related impacts; and, 60% agreed they were dismissing their distress.  Suicides in the US have increased by 33% overall since 1999 and by twice this percent for 10-24 year olds.  Today, suicide is a leading cause of death in the US.   

During this 33 minute interview Dr. van Susteren begins by describing what is eco-anxiety and how does it manifests.  The discussion moves on to her assessment of David Buckel's widely reported 2018 suicide, where is the psychological field regarding recognizing climate anxiety in the DSM-5, what explains professional medical associations hesitance in addressing the climate crisis and the Biden administration's and the World Health Organization's refusal to declare a climate emergency, she explains the work of her cofounded organizations, Climate Psychiatry and the Climate Psychology Alliance - North America, addresses how best to respond to experiencing a weather disaster event, and finally she encourages those disturbed by the climate crisis to take action.            

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 Download 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 the metropolitan Washington DC.  In addition to community organizing on climate issues, van Susteren serves on the Boards of Earth Day Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility and is a co-founder of "Climate Psychiatry Alliance," and of “Climate Psychology Alliance – North America,"  Van Susteren is the expert witness on the psychological damages to young people from inaction on climate in Juliana v US, in Held v Montana and in the European Court of Human Rights.  She is a frequent contributor on television, radio and in the 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.

The Lancet published survey is at: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2542-5196%2821%2900278-3.  

Dr. van Susteren's letter to the editor of  The New York Times regarding David Buckel's 2018 suicide, discussed during this podcast, it is at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/opinion/suicide-environmental-protest.html

If you are experiencing climate crisis despair and would like to reach out to Dr. van Susteren, her email address is: lvs350@me.com.  


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