reframing eco anxiety

how can we adapt healthcare to growing eco-anxiety?


Redesigning Psychiatry is an innovation network aimed at redesigning the mental healthcare system for the 21th century. The project rethinks the core concept of what a mental illness is, while at the same time developing a system that better addresses the grand challenges we face as a society. One of these challenges is climate change, as this is one of the defining issues for health systems in the 21th century. For What Design Can Do 2018 we designed a lecture and interactive workshop around this theme. 

Climate change is likely to impact mental health in many different ways. Climate related disasters, such as floods and bush fires, increase the risk of developing severe anxiety disorders. In rural areas, there is a relationship between drought and increased suicide rates. Heat waves have been associated with higher rates of aggression and violence. But also, more subtle and indirect effects of climate change can add stress to people’s lives in varying degrees. ‘Eco-anxiety’ may create emotional distress and anxiety about the future, leaving many individuals feeling scared, depressed, numb, frustrated or angry.

After a mini-lecture teams were formed and we designed future mental healthcare concepts that counter the adverse effects of climate change on mental health.

Photo by Priscilla on Unsplash


Related projects: 
Project kick-off: 
April 2018
Project delivered: 
May 2018
Project size: 
Project developers: 
Beatrijs Voorneman
Femke de Boer
Mother project: 
Social innovation
Design research
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