Overview

The UQ Mental Health in Climate Change Transdisciplinary Research Network (UQ MHCC-TRN) was established in 2019 to respond to growing needs of government and industry for an evidence base that support the implementation of intervention, tools, and policies.

The Network specialises in mental health for communities that are impacted by climate change events. Its focus is on research, evidence, and solutions.

Network members include field experts as well as academic experts from various research disciplines who collaborate in research activities and harness transdisciplinary expertise. Headquartered in Queensland, Australia, our membership base is of national and international reach.

General enquiries

Liz Shaw
Research Network Manager, MHCC-TRN
School of Public Health, UQ
Email: liz.shaw@uq.edu.au


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Why we exist

The UQ Mental Health in Climate Change Transdisciplinary Research Network (UQ MHCC-TRN) is the first network of its kind in Australia. Its vision is to secure the mental health of rural and regional communities in a rapidly changing climate.

Our five-year-plan is to:

  • Build a strong network of motivated and involved members from across the globe
  • Establish a national and international research agenda agreed by members
  • Contribute to successful completion of research through linking field experts with academic experts
  • Contribute to the development of practical tools that can be used on the ground to support planning, service delivery, and mental health interventions

Objectives

1. To understand the experience, distribution, and determinants of mental illness/poor mental health in the age of climate change.

  • Explore, characterise and quantify the full range of (short-, medium-, and long-term) mental health outcomes and emotional experiences associated with volatile climate, and identify which are most significant for communities.
  • Understand how social/political/institutional forces shape emotional wellbeing, vulnerability, and resilience.
  • Develop an appropriate and validated measure of the social and wellbeing impacts of a changing climate. 

2. To conceptualise the systems underpinning mental health in an age of climate change.

  • Explore, define and quantify pathways and mediating factors connecting climate change exposures and mental health outcomes.
  • Qualitatively identify critical points for intervention that can be quantitatively tested.
  • Develop a model, which can be iteratively refined, where the most viable points for intervention can be tested prior to implementation and where scenarios can be run to help service planning on the ground.

3. To develop interventions to harness the political importance of emotional responses to climate change, while optimising the mental health of communities in an age of climate change.

  • Explore existing community and psychosocial interventions for mental health in the context of climate change, and critically analyse their inclusivity, feasibility, effectiveness, and benefits.
  • Develop novel interventions where gaps exist.
  • Analyse and assess the co-benefits of taking action on climate change.

4. To inductively understand and quantify the benefits of addressing the social, emotional, and mental health harms associated with climate change.

  • Analyse and assess the inclusivity, feasibility, effectiveness, and benefits of existing and novel community and psychosocial interventions for social and emotional wellbeing in the context of climate change.
  • Explore, understand and quantify the benefits of intervening to reduce the social and emotional effects, including mental health harms, associated with climate volatility.

5. To translate knowledge into policy and practice through research with in-built impact to improve mental health in an age of climate change.

  • Work with key stakeholders to develop research-based translation strategies that consider optimal mechanisms in context for policy and practice change.
  • Understand how social and emotional wellbeing shapes climate change decision-making across sectors and evaluate the impacts of climate change decision-making on mental health.

Journal articles

Climate change impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of young people: A scoping review of risk and protective factors

Ma, Tianyi, Moore, Jane and Cleary Anne (2022). Climate change impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of young people: a scoping review of risk and protective factors. Social Science and Medicine 114888, 114888. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.114888

A social–ecological perspective on climate anxiety in children and adolescents

Crandon, Tara J., Scott, James G., Charlson, Fiona J. and Thomas, Hannah J. (2022). A social–ecological perspective on climate anxiety in children and adolescents. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/s41558-021-01251-y

Global priorities for climate change and mental health research

Charlson, Fiona, Ali, Suhailah, Augustinavicius, Jura, Benmarhnia, Tarik, Birch, Stephen, Clayton, Susan, Fielding, Kelly, Jones, Lynne, Juma, Damian, Snider, Leslie, Ugo, Victor, Zeitz, Lian, Jayawardana, Danusha, La Nauze, Andrea and Massazza, Alessandro (2022). Global priorities for climate change and mental health research. Environment International, 158 106984. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106984

Charlson, Fiona, Ali, Suhailah, Benmarhnia, Tarik, Pearl, Madeleine, Massazza, Alessandro, Augustinavicius, Jura and Scott, James G. (2021). Climate change and mental health: a scoping review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (9) 4486, 1-38. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094486

Understanding and responding to climate-driven non-economic loss and damage in the Pacific Islands

McNamara KE, Westoby R, Clissold R and Chandra A (2021) ‘Understanding and responding to climate-driven non-economic loss and damage in the Pacific Islands’, Climate Risk Management, 33, 100336, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crm.2021.100336

Ali, Suhailah, Williams, Owain, Chang, Odille, Shidhaye, Rahul, Hunter, Ernest and Charlson, Fiona (2020). Mental health in the Pacific: Urgency and opportunity. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 61 (3) apv.12286, 537-550. doi: 10.1111/apv.12286

Climate change impacts on health in remote indigenous communities in Australia

Hall, Nina Lansbury and Crosby, Lucy (2020). Climate change impacts on health in remote indigenous communities in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2020.1777948

Responding to climate change disaster: The case of 2019/2020 bushfires in Australia

Jetten, J., Fielding, K., Crimston, C., Mols, F., & Haslam, S.A. (2020). Responding to climate change disaster: The case of 2019/2020 bushfires in Australia. Revised manuscript submitted to European Psychologist, 26(3), 161-171.

 

Book chapters

Mass emotional events: rethinking emotional contagions after COVID-19

McKenzie, Jordan, Patulny, Roger, Olson, Rebecca E. and Bower, Marlee (2022). Mass emotional events: rethinking emotional contagions after COVID-19. Dystopian emotions: emotional landscapes and dark futures (pp. 71-88) edited by Jordan McKenzie and Roger Patulny. Bristol, United Kingdom: Bristol University Press. 

 

Other outputs

How to heal in the Anthropocene

Clissold R, Westoby R and McNamara KE (2021) ‘How to heal in the Anthropocene’, BBC, 22 April, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210420-mental-health-healing-the-trauma-of-climate-change

Non-economic loss and damage: insights from the Pacific Islands

Clissold R, McNamara KE, Westoby R and Chandra A (2021) ‘Non-economic loss and damage: insights from the Pacific Islands’, Climate Analytics, 23 September, https://climateanalytics.org/blog/2021/non-economic-loss-and-damage-insights-from-the-pacific-islands/

Members

PhD students

  • Tara Crandon

    Psychologist, PhD Student
    Primary Supervisor: Dr Hannah Thomas. Co-supervisors: Professor James Scott and Associate Professor Fiona Charlson
  • Renuka Bhoge

    PhD Student
    Supervisor: Dr Sara Alidoust, Associate Supervisor: Dr Anne Cleary
  • Monika Walia

    PhD Student
    Supervisor: Dr Anne Cleary