Providence leaders host a discussion on climate anxiety

February 23, 2022 Beth Schenk


Key takeaways:

  • Climate change and caring for the environment is our responsibility as individuals and as a society.

  • Although it can feel overwhelming to find ways to help, there are actions you can take to make an impact.

  • A recent live event shines a light on climate anxiety and gives advice for dealing with the mental weight of the environmental issues we are facing.

Raising awareness about taking care of the environment begins with recognizing the mental weight of assuming the responsibility. It can be overwhelming to contemplate the roles we have as individuals and as a society in slowing or reversing the damage that has already been done. But it can also be rewarding to make small changes now that can have a big impact on the future.

In this recent live discussion, we join together Beth Schenk, PhD, RN, FAAN, Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship, Chief Executive of Well Being Trust, Tyler Norris, and Sydney S., a National Student Advisory Council Member of Work2BeWell for a powerful conversation on:

  • Climate anxiety and the toll it takes on our mental health across various age groups.
  • How future generations will be negatively impacted by the climate pollution that is created today.
  • Ways to find hope after the hardships our nation has recently faced (COVID-19, addiction, race, economic challenges) and how to seek help when needed.

Watch the video below:

Key takeaways:

  • It is important to understand that many feel the weight of responsibility for addressing climate change, yet the younger generation is overwhelmed by the pollution that is continuing to happen today.
  • There are steps we can take today, regardless of age or background, to positively impact the environment through actions in our communities, schools, and faith settings.
  • Providence is committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030. This is a huge goal as we aim to help decarbonize the health system as a whole.
  • Since the onset of COVID-19, the nation has felt more pressure in their everyday lives, while also facing economic challenges and political polarity. How do we have conversations about climate change on top of these larger stressors? 

It’s important now more than ever to seek help when we begin to feel overwhelmed by matters that carry so much responsibility and weight, such as climate change. It’s just as vital to be available to others that may be in need or help guide them to resources, such as the Crisis Text Line.

Learn more about Providence’s commitment to being good stewards of the environment and ways you can take small actions today to make a difference for the future.

Related resources

Environmental Stewardship Hub

Climate change and health: Caring for our patients and the Earth

5 ways to protect your health during a climate crisis

Earth day can’t wait: We need to act now on climate change

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.




About the Author

Beth Schenk is the executive director of environmental stewardship for Providence, leading a cross-functional commitment to reduce operational pollution while addressing environmental justice and climate resilience in the communities we serve. Beth has been a Providence caregiver for over 30 years. From serving as an ICU nurse at St. Patrick in Missoula to leading nursing research across the Providence organization, Beth has nurtured her passion for environmental care. Her first successful recycling project was over 25 years ago. Since then she has led Montana’s award-winning Green 4 Good program. She co-founded Providence’s first regional environmental stewardship council. She has co-led a system-wide monthly meeting on environmental stewardship since 2008.

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