ABC Prescribes Suicide and Crisis Hotline to Youth With ‘Eco Anxiety’

News & Politics

On this Tuesday’s ABC News Live (part of ABC’s streaming service), chief meteorologist and chief climate correspondent Ginger Zee worked to legitimize so-called “Eco Anxiety” as a burgeoning mental illness. Touching upon the weather from this past weekend which left areas of the country with notable damage, ABC chose to view the situation through the lens of Climate Change focusing instead on the stress and anxieties of those who fear the so-called issue.

To top off the story, which in truth seemed more like a plight to worry the general public more than properly inform them, anchor Diane Macedo concluded the segment by listing the suicide and crisis hotline, equating the stress over the climate with such serious issues which the hotline was originally intended.

Unsurprisingly, Macedo attested the weather from this past weekend to Climate Change and without truly explaining the destruction of such events as a tornado and major hail storm. She instead turned the story over to Ginger Zee, who proceeded to introduce a fairly new problem sweeping the country: “Eco Anxiety.”

Climate Change, as explained in the segment by Dr. Josh Wortzel, of the American Psychiatric Association, may now affect the mental health of many who are preoccupied by it. “A lot of young people are thinking about how this is going to impact their futures, their safety, the idea of wanting to have children,” he said.

Psychological impacts besides the trauma of actually living through a natural disaster included what Zee stated as Eco Anxiety, or the “mental distress” which one may suffer from “as they watch the world grapple with climate change.”

Zee spoke with young people who discussed their anxieties surrounding the issue explaining that they worry for their future surrounding the weather:

ELEANA KOSTAKIS:  I feel anxiety constantly about the weather, about like the weather overheating.

ZACH KAPLAN:  I do get stressed fairly often. People expect us to be the generation that fixes the problem that no one asked for.

Taking a step back one can easily see the absurdities which people have now become victims of. Anxiety, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “anticipation of a future concern.” The media has become so fixated on a story that sells and it is fed by fear. With each new storm or basic weather coverage, one may be bombarded with a looming fear of this ever-changing issue of Global Warming and Climate Change.

It is no wonder that with all of this coverage, young and impressionable minds find themselves anxious about such an unpredictable idea. Yet to take such simple worries and aggrandize them to the level of suicide and major mental crisis is truly ignorant and absurd. The nationwide issue of mental health and suicide must not be equivocated with a worry for tomorrow’s forecast, our reporters of all people should understand that.

Here is the transcript for Tuesday morning’s show

ABC News Live 
5/21/2024
9:21 AM ET

DIANE MACEDO: And researchers now say climate change can impact your mental health in three different ways. As part of mental health awareness month, we are looking at how to identify and manage eco anxiety. Chief climate correspondent Ginger Zee has the details.

[Cuts to Video]

GINGER ZEE: There are a variety of consequences a changing climate can have on people’s mental health. It’s a growing area of research, but the American Psychiatric Association says that impacts fall into three buckets.

DR. JOSH WORTZEL: There are the direct impacts of heat on the brain and the prevalence of mental illness. There are indirect effects that are the many ripples of putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And then there are psychological impacts. 

ZEE: One of the psychological impacts: trauma from living through an extreme disaster. Some also struggle with mental distress. Sometimes called eco anxiety, as they watch the world grapple with climate change.

ELEANA KOSTAKIS: I feel anxiety constantly about the weather, about like the weather overheating.

ZACH KAPLAN: I do get stressed fairly often. People expect us to be the generation that fixes the problem that no one asked for.

WORTZEL: A lot of young people are thinking about how this is going to impact their futures, their safety, the idea of wanting to have children.

ZEE: Wortzel noted that there are ways to cope. Number one, make sure your physical needs, like cooling and hydration, are met. And also ask your mental health care provider. They likely have therapy specifically addressing climate change.

[Cuts to Live]

MACEDO: All right. Thanks to Ginger Zee for that report. And if you or someone you know is in crisis, free, confidential help is available 24/7. Call or text. The national lifeline at nine, eight, eight.

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