The term “eco anxiety” is described as “worry or stress caused by thinking about climate change, our relationships with nature, and surrounding issues” by the Climate Psychology Alliance. Although many people across the world suffer from the first-hand effects of climate change, the mental impact caused by climate change is also an issue that you can experience.

A study completed by the University found that the majority of students surveyed worry about climate change and its impact on mental health. It also found that the actions students take in their daily life is impacted by climate change.

Students find that combating climate change in small and large ways can alleviate their anxiety, but can also remind them of the larger issue at hand.

Tips on Eco Anxiety Management

  • Remember that although individual action is important, it is not your individual responsibility to fix everything.
  • Take a look at your personal habits and adopt more sustainable lifestyle practices.
  • Allow yourself to fully acknowledge those feelings and thoughts that arise when experiencing anxiety.
  • If you feel guilt over past behaviours that were not sustainably focused, forgive yourself and commit to better choices moving forward.
  • Talk to friends, family and your wider community about how you are feeling.
  • Do not feel that you have to make more sustainable choices which are beyond your financial/physical/mental ability. Different actions suit different people.
  • Just as you cannot expect yourself to be the perfect activist, try not to hold this expectation for others either. You never know how much someone else is trying, and what they are going through.

You can also see our Anxiety section for further tips on anxiety management.

Thank you, Marcelina Lekawska, Emily Jenkins, Heather Fortune, Zaynah Akeel and supervisor Hanna Lundström for your work and research into this topic at the University.

What support do we offer? 

Student Services works collaboratively with you in several ways to help you manage your anxiety, which can help eco anxiety. We offer guided self-help, one-to-one sessions with a practitioner and facilitated group sessions to help you create proactive and helpful strategies.  You can book an appointment to speak to a member of staff or email for advice. 

Alternative Internal Support

You can access self-help through various University channels such as:

  • ShelfHelp, which provides eBooks or physical copies which can help you understand and manage anxiety.
  • SilverCloud, which provides various modules to work through at your own pace to help understand and manage anxiety with cognitive behavioural therapy techniques.
  • TogetherAll - a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. This service is available until February 2023. After this time, we recommend students reach out to SHOUT).

External Support

If you would like to access some self-help materials here are a list of alternative support resources.