Derby

Derby staff and students given climate change anxiety therapy

Art therapy session
Image caption Art is being used to help staff and students express feelings of anxiety in a creative and non-verbal way

Staff and students struggling with anxiety over climate change are being offered art therapy.

Eco-anxiety sessions are being held at the University of Derby to tackle feelings of anger, guilt and grief.

One student involved in the workshops said climate change makes her feel as though she is "not going to have a future".

Dr Jamie Bird, who hopes to expand the sessions, said people suffer "climate grief" when seeing what is being lost.

The sessions have been offered to people from climate activist groups in Derbyshire, and some faculties at the university, since August.

Student Claire Prowse said: "It makes me very anxious because every time I look at the news I rarely see any good news about the environment.

"It just makes me think I'm not going to have a future."

Image caption Dr Jamie Bird said people are feeling not only anxious, but also a sense of loss, anger, guilt or shame

Nicola Grigg, who also attends the sessions, said: "It makes me feel isolated and lonely.

"It makes me feel guilty because I don't feel like I have the power to change it."

Dr Bird, deputy head of health and social care research at the university, said: "More and more I think there's this recognition that people are feeling not only anxious but also a sense of loss, or it might be a sense of anger or guilt or shame.

"Helplessness underlines a lot of those feelings because it's something we've never really had to face before and we don't know how it's going to pan out."

He is using art to help staff and students express their feelings creatively and non-verbally.

Image caption Mr Bird said people suffer "climate grief" when seeing what is being lost, locally or abroad, like the fires in Australia

As a group they are then encouraged to share their work to "make sense" of the feelings together.

The workshop also tries to find solutions to some of the issues affecting the climate.

Dr Bird said the therapy sessions have already proven successful, with some people leaving feeling less anxious and guilty.

This has made him want to expand the sessions with other forms of art like drama and dance.

After the success of the sessions he has run, he hopes to offer eco-anxiety sessions to all staff and students.

Image caption Student Claire Prowse said news coverage relating to climate change makes her feel anxious

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