People sitting in a circle talking.

New Funding to Address Youth Climate-Mental Health in US K-12 Schools

The Climate Mental Health Network (CMHN) and National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) announced today receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Global to create tools and resources that support teachers in helping students process emotions related to climate change in age-appropriate ways. Funding for this joint project will increase access to a range of climate mental health practices and provide teachers with materials that support healthy, safe, and supportive engagement with student mental health needs due to climate change in K-12 schools. 
 

"Our partnership with the Climate Mental Health Network to develop mental health resources for educators and students couldn’t have come at a better time. This support is critically needed as students learn about and directly experience the impacts of climate change in their communities." ~ Sara Espinoza, NEEF VP of Programs

As the climate crisis escalates, the percentage of people living in the US who have been directly impacted by climate change-related disasters has increased drastically. Research has shown that young people are disproportionately suffering from the negative psychological impacts of climate change. A recent, large-scale global survey published in The Lancet conducted with 10,000 young people ages 16-24 found that 75% said the future is frightening, and over 45% reported that this worry interferes with their daily functioning.

Infographic with a young person looking thoughtful with statistic that 75% of young people said climate change is making them fearful for the future.

Primary to secondary (K-12 grade) school educators are an important point of intervention for buffering the negative mental health effects of climate change in young people.  “Our partnership with the Climate Mental Health Network to develop mental health resources for educators and students couldn’t have come at a better time," said Sara Espinoza, vice president for Programs at NEEF. "This support is critically needed as students learn about and directly experience the impacts of climate change in their communities."

This funding will also build contemplative tools and self-care practices for educators addressing complex climate emotions within and outside of classroom settings.

“The impact of climate change on people’s mental health, especially amongst young people, can no longer be ignored. We are excited to move forward with this project to support educators and youth’s emotional well-being in the face of climate change,” said Climate Mental Health Network co-founder and director of programs, Lian Zeitz. “This grant is unique because it centers the intersectional ways climate change impacts young people and teachers in classrooms across the country.” 

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