Natural disasters and extreme weather events cause great physical damage, but they can also take a toll on mental health. That’s the topic the state Department of Health and the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council will explore this week at workshops they are co-sponsoring.
The workshops are tailored for mental health practitioners, health department employees, and the general public.
Julia Gold is the climate change program manager at the Department of Health. She said post-traumatic stress disorder is a real issue after extreme weather-related emergencies, such as the 2010 floods and Hurricane Sandy.
“People face some real stresses in their lives that they might not have had before and not just during those events but also after,” said Gold.
But she adds that it’s difficult to track the health effects climate change has on mental health.
“These workshops that we’re hosting this week, I think they’re really just a starting point, getting our feet wet on this topic, getting the conversation started,” said Gold.
She said the workshop will provide ideas on how to better prepare individuals and communities around climate-related disasters. The one workshop will be open to the public; others will not.
The health department and the climate change council are interested in hosting more of these workshops in the future.
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