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Climate change, social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention

Michael Wright, Jeffrey Ansloos, Stewart Sutherland, Roz Walker and Abigail Bray


There is strong evidence that climate change and global warming is a significant and growing determinant of mental health. This paper examines the impact of climate change on First Nations peoples’ mental health, suicide, and social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) to explore how climate change adaptation and mitigation practices and strategies can sustain SEWB. Holistic and collective First Nations cultural practices centre on caring for Country and respect First Nations knowledge systems and social networks. The paper reviews the evidence that SEWB is created and sustained by these practices.

At present, there is a substantial lack of suicide prevention strategies and no policy agenda or engagement on environmental issues as drivers of suicide. It is important that First Nations practices are used to develop suicide prevention strategies that recognise the threat to First Nations SEWB posed by climate change.