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Two-Thirds of Black Americans Believe Climate Change Is Hurting Americans’ Health, According to New Poll

  • April 11, 2022

Washington, D.C., April 11, 2022 — According to the latest Healthy Minds Monthly* poll from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Black Americans are more concerned than Americans overall about the health impacts of climate change. More than two-thirds (67%) of Black American adults believe climate change is already hurting Americans’ health (58% of all adults), and more than half (54%) agree that it’s impacting their mental health (48% of all adults). In addition, more than half of Black Americans (51%) reported being anxious about climate change’s impact on future generations.

Among the 2,210 adults in a nationally representative sample polled by Morning Consult between March 19-21, 2022, more Black Americans were worried about the impact of climate change on the planet (65%) than on their mental health (47%).

“Climate change is a public health emergency, and mental health is a central part of it,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “The poll shows us that the majority of the Black community in America is aware and they're more stressed about the issue than others. It’s important for psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians to understand that the mental health impacts of climate change are real and can hit different communities in different ways.”

Black Americans were the most likely to report anxiety over the impact of climate change on the planet (65%) versus all adults (55%), Hispanic adults (62%), or white adults (52%). Overall, Americans in the Northeast (57%) and Western regions (58%) of the country reported being more worried about the effect of climate change on the planet than those in the Midwest (50%) and the South (41%).

“Climate change is a threat to everyone’s mental and physical health and is inextricably linked to social justice and health inequities,” said APA Deputy Medical Director and Chief of Diversity and Health Equity Regina James, M.D. “Communities of color, immigrants, low-income communities, and people for whom English is not their native language will suffer the most because of where they live, their health, income, language barriers, and limited access to resources. Psychiatrists need to take into account these structural determinants of health and mental health.”

When assessing their mental health, 28% of Black Americans rated their mental health as either fair or poor, an increase from 25% in February, an uptick in line with all Americans (31% in March as opposed to 28% in February).

*APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly tracks timely mental health issues throughout the year. APA also releases its annual Healthy Minds Poll each May in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month.

For a copy of the poll results, contact [email protected].

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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