Wananga landing Wananga landing

Climate change impact on youth mental health explored

08 May 2023

What are the biggest influences on youth mental health and how does experiencing climate change-related events, such as floods and bushfires, affect young people?


Professor Don Hine, Head of the University of Canterbury’s School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing, is speaking about climate change and youth mental health at an evening of health and wellbeing research talks, "We’re talking Hauora", hosted this Wednesday by Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct.

Professor Don Hine, Head of the University of Canterbury’s School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing, will answer these questions and others when he speaks about climate change and youth mental health at an upcoming evening of research talks.

We’re talking Hauora, hosted by Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct, showcases several Canterbury researchers speaking about health and wellbeing at a free, public event this Wednesday 10 May at 5.30pm

SDG-3-news-2023-uc.jpeg Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 - Good Health and Wellbeing

Professor Hine will discuss growing evidence that youth mental health problems can be made worse by direct experience of climate-change events such as bushfires, droughts and floods. He considers how big these effects are relative to other stressful life events such as family conflict, sickness and becoming unemployed.

He will present recent data from Australia that ranks the most important predictors of youth mental health problems, and what we can do about them.

“Younger generations across the world are reporting high levels of anxiety about climate change and its impacts,” he says.

“But climate change is far from the only pressing challenge to youth mental health.  We need to build a society in which we provide strong social foundations that enable young people to flourish, without exceeding the Earth’s ecological boundaries.”  

Three other University of Canterbury (UC) researchers are taking part in the We’re Talking Hauora event:

Dr Megan Gath, Senior Data Manager in UC’s Child Well-being Research Institute, will talk about the impact of screen time in early childhood on social and educational skills.

Dr Jessica Fitzjohn, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, will discuss how her research has led to the development of new potential breast screening technology, which is both radiation and compression-free. This technology could increase access to breast screening, increasing equity and outcomes for all women.

Dr Kate Prendergast, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, is exploring how cities can help young people to live well and thrive based on research from seven international cities.

Her talk identifies conditions and opportunities for city councils to support youth wellbeing.

The other two speakers taking part in We’re Talking Hauora are from the University of Otago.

They will cover topics such as antimicrobial resistance and the use of antibiotics, using microbiome to improve colorectal cancer treatment, and alcohol-related presentations at the Christchurch Emergency Department.

  • “We’re Talking Hauora”, Wednesday 10 May, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Manawa Foyer, 276 Antigua St, Christchurch, register here.

More information
Visit our media enquiries page to contact UC Media.
What to read next
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.