Author Identifier

Naomi Joy Godden

ORCID : 0000-0001-9881-3365

Susan Bailey

ORCID : 0000-0002-0768-7058

Mindy Blaise

ORCID : 0000-0003-2476-9407

Trudi Cooper

ORCID : 0000-0002-4758-5881

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health





First Page


Last Page





Centre for People, Place and Planet / School of Arts and Humanities / School of Education




Plan International Australia and Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Research Council Perpetual Ltd and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : 1098844ARC Number : DP210101258

Grant Link


Godden, N. J., Farrant, B. M., Yallup Farrant, J., Heyink, E., Carot Collins, E., Burgemeister, B., . . . Cooper, T. (2021). Climate change, activism, and supporting the mental health of children and young people: Perspectives from Western Australia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 57(11), 1759-1764.


The climate crisis has detrimental impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Psychological effects include feelings of fear, overwhelm, worry, distress, hopelessness and anger; PTSD; depression; anxiety; phobias; panic disorder; sleep disturbances; attachment disorders; learning difficulties; substance abuse; shock and trauma symptoms; adjustment problems; behavioural problems; and, suicidal thinking. First Nations' children and young people are particularly at risk due to loss of place, identity, culture, land and customs informed by kinship relationships with the Earth; while sustainable land use practices and connection to Country and community can enhance climate resilience. In Western Australia (WA), some young people engage in climate activism – including striking from school – to demand government action to address the causes of climate change, including colonisation and capitalism. Climate activism can promote resilience, particularly when children and young people can emotionally engage in the climate crisis; when mental health is systemically supported; when climate communication is transparent and comprehensive; and, when activism is informed by the knowledges and wisdoms of First Nations peoples and grounded on Country. This article is co-authored by WA young people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal academics, activists and practitioners engaged in youth, mental health and climate justice spaces. We argue for structural change to address the causes of the climate crisis, alongside enhanced evidence and approaches to appropriately support the mental health of children and young people. Furthermore, we support the call of Aboriginal peoples to ensure culturally appropriate, place-based responses based in caring for Country.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Research Themes

Natural and Built Environments

Priority Areas

Human-environment interaction