Climate anxiety among children and young people is set to increase in the near future, predicts the mental health NGO Tunne.
This past summer has underlined how the effects of climate change are becoming more tangible in Finland, says Tunne executive director Taneli Saari. He says that some young people are already clearly more anxious.
The association offers opportunities for dealing with feelings and thoughts related to climate and environmental change through counselling, workshops and other activities. It is a partner of Mieli, Finland's largest and oldest mental health group. Saari works as an expert at Mieli Mental Health Finland's environmental anxiety project.
The Mannerheim Child Protection League, meanwhile, says that climate anxiety is still rarely mentioned in its phone and online chat services for children and young people. It is typically mentioned as an additional burden in an otherwise distressing life situation or state of mind, the NGO says.
2018 was a watershed
"This summer has brought to the fore how the effects of climate change are starting to become even more tangible here in Finland as well. Some young people are already clearly more anxious, and I believe that children will also be exposed to these things even more. In Finland, the issue of climate change only started to be dealt with more visibly after the 2018 global climate warming report," Saari told MTV3 News on Sunday.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report released in October 2018 called for rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Tunne is now partnering on a two-year national project on environmental emotions with Mieli and Nyyti, an NGO that promotes the mental health and learning ability of students. The project is bankrolled by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations, which operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Tunne is a non-profit organisation founded in Helsinki in 2018. Mieli, established in 1897, describes itself as the world’s oldest non-governmental organisation dedicated to mental health.