Mental Health

A growing evidence base explores the mental health dimensions of global environmental change.  What are the mental/cognitive benefits of exposure to “intact” nature?  What are the mental health costs of environmental degradation?  Are there significant mental health benefits of managing natural systems in particular ways?  Are the mental health burdens associated with reduced exposure to nature fairly distributed across different populations? Better understanding of these issues could meaningfully inform resource management decisions and urban design to mitigate the mental health impacts of environmental change.

Learning Objectives
L1: Explore the indirect and direct anthropogenic drivers of mental health challenges.
L2: Summarize the role and influence of mental health research over time to better inform present context.
L3: Consider how human activities and influence on ecosystem transformations have the potential to improve mental health.
Teaching Resources
Healthy Planet, Healthy People
A TedX Talk by Dr. Courtney Howard. For too long we've put health and the environment in different boxes. The work of our generation is to bridge the two, to understand that in fact, they belong in the same box--that planetary health defines human health--and that as we improve one, we will improve the other as well.
→ Watch the video

Health Impact Assessment of Global Environmental Change
This undergraduate level course will provide students with tools to identify and address real-world global environmental and urban health issues. In addition to reading and discussing subject content to assist in understanding of the issues, students will learn skills to optimize the likelihood of affecting policy change through: 1) the Health Impact Assessment framework; 2) an introduction to environmental health modeling and spatial analysis; and 3) science communication skills. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2017.
→ Weekly Course Topics and Schedule

Planetary Health Workshop 
This workshop created by the Planetary Health Alliance introduces participants to planetary health and encourages them to brainstorm about possible solutions to urgent global challenges. Participants dive into the implications of environmental changes for one of three selected health impacts -- nutrition, infectious disease, and mental health.
→ Workshop folder

Climate Change and Health
(L2, L3) Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health podcast shares an in-depth conversation about the effects of climate change and the steps we can take to reduce the damage.
→ The podcast
→ Teaching tool

Ecosystem Approaches to Health Teaching Manual
A teaching manual with sample modules and associated activities for teaching about health and environmental change produced by COPEH-Canada.
→ Español 
→ Français 
→ English 
→ Read more

Simulation Exercises Teaching Clinical Skills and Knowledge of the Health Effects of Climate Change
This resource presents eleven simulation exercises. Students are eager to learn clinical skills, and existing curricula offer a range of simulated standardized patients and other active learning exercises that could be modified to provide training on climate change.
→ Simulation

Why Lost Ice Means Lost Hope for an Inuit Village
The only road to Rigolet, Labrador, is the ice. But climate change is making that ice vanish, and the mental health impact runs deep. An article from the New York Times. November 25, 2017.
Read the Story

Urban Health Disparities Syllabus
This Howard University course provides students with a foundation for understanding how history, power, privilege and structural inequality interact to produce urban health disparities. It looks at the advantages and disadvantages of urbanization on both physical and mental health and the root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare.

Urbanization and Health in the Developing World
(L1, L2, L3) This slide deck provides an example of a lecture for a class on urbanization and health identifying demographic trends, emerging health problems, potential solutions and what makes a city healthy.
Teaching tool

Planetary Health Alliance

The Planetary Health Alliance is a consortium of over 120 dedicated universities, NGOs, government entities, research institutes, and other partners around the world committed to advancing planetary health.
Website via Visura

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