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Existentialism and Climate Change The Next Frontier in Mental Health

Available: June 1, 2024 - June 1, 2027


This course is free to members for the month of June 2024. On July 1, 2024, the course will be available for purchase.


The mental health consequences of events linked to a changing global climate are myriad and can be devastating. According to FEMA, many communities worldwide are already experiencing the devastating effects of climate change in events like intensified wildfires, droughts and extreme heat, flooding, and coastal erosion, among other natural disasters. It goes without saying that the earth is going through a seismic change that threatens the very existence of humankind. As an Existentialist, I perceive the current climate crisis an a fundamentally existential issue and makes all of us grapple with the fundamental questions of death, life and quality of life. The impact of climate change is often devastating on many levels. People who are victims of a climate disaster often must deal with have the most immediate effects on mental health in the form of the trauma and shock due to personal injuries, loss of a loved one, damage to or loss of personal property or even the loss of livelihood. Further, the terror, anger, shock and other intense negative emotions that can dominate people’s initial response to a climate disaster may eventually subside, but to only be replaced by some form of traumatic stress disorder. The trauma and losses from a disaster, such as losing a home or job and being disconnected from neighborhood and community, can contribute to depression and anxiety. This presentation is designed to discuss climate change as a fundamentally existential issue and to explore the mental health impact it will have on the world and particularly vulnerable populations. How do therapists help clients that are victims of natural disasters brought on by climate change when they have lost everything including their homes, means to earn a living and possibly loved ones? How can therapists help clients find hope, resilience and strength when they are faced with the loss of a loved one, their employment, their community, and perhaps most significant, their sense of identity? What should the mental field be doing now to advocate for preventive measures to mitigate the overwhelming impacts of client change? These are the questions that will focus the discussion of this presentation and help explain the relationship between existentialism, climate change and what mental health needs to look like as a result.


Recorded webinar, non-interactive, self-paced distance learning activity.

This presentation was recorded at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting 2023.

Learning Objectives

  • Provide an overview of Existentialism and its relevance to Climate Change and Mental Health
  • Provide data on the current state of climate change
  • Define the relationship between climate change and mental health

Target Audience

Medical Students, Residents/Fellows, Psychiatrists

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1.50 hours
Begin Date: June 1, 2024
End Date: June 1, 2027

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the event date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


The APA designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Program Presenters

  • Andre Marseille, PhD. 

Program Planners

  • Vishal Madaan, MD. Chief of Education and Deputy Medical Director, APA.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance

Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Jun 01, 2027
Cost: Member: $18.75
Non-Member: $37.50
Medical Student: $18.75
Resident Fellow Member: $18.75
Credit Offered:
1.5 CME Credits
1.5 COP Credits
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