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The Devastating Impact of COVID-19 and Climate Crisis on Young Indians’ Mental Health: New Findings by Lancet

covid 19 mental health

According to a study published in The Lancet Regional Health – Southeast Asia on Friday, young Indians’ mental health was also negatively affected by COVID-19 and the climate crisis, which have caused unprecedented disruptions around the world.

Young people with a mental illness and without social support are at a higher risk of mental illness caused by climate change.

As a result of COVID-19, psychological distress has increased as well. People have experienced more depression, anxiety, and insomnia due to loss of livelihoods and social bonds.

“While COVID-19 has affected daily life and health on an immediate level, climate change has been silently damaging the planet with adverse effects that are not immediately apparent,” said lead author Sandhya Yatirajula, of the George Institute for Global Health.

According to her, climate change may result in a loss of agency and hopelessness, especially for vulnerable populations already at risk due to COVID-19.

Nearly 600 young adults living in urban slums in Haryana’s Faridabad and Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills were included in the study.

The team, from India, Australia, and the UK, explored the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings of young people on both the climate and COVID-19 crises, their concerns and desires for the future, as well as their sense of agency in contributing to the changes they desire.

The findings indicate that most respondents reported similar interference from climate change and COVID-19 on their mental wellbeing. The scores for climate concern and COVID-19 concern were also comparable.

Their lives were negatively impacted by tangible experiences of extreme weather events, while improving the environment had a positive impact.

COVID-19 caused respondents to lose income, mobility, and social contact, whereas leisure activities and bonding with their families had positive effects.

Despite the majority of participants reporting climate and COVID agencies, no action was taken to improve the environment.

Young people’s activism on climate change and COVID-19 improves their mental wellbeing and more opportunities and platforms must be provided to enable them to take action on both crises, the researchers write.

The study stresses the importance of involving young people in action to mitigate the effects of climate change and COVID-19, giving them a sense of purpose, and building resilience to deal with the stress and strain that adverse climate events or pandemics might throw their way.

Collaboration between policymakers and citizens is also essential to creating a country that is resilient to pandemics and climate change, as well as proactive in preventing them.

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