The Climate Crisis and Mental Health Oppression

We are in the midst of a climate crisis. It is easy to either go numb, or assume we are all going to die and not try to take charge of the situation. Because of mental health oppression (MHO) most people don’t get to release their painful emotions, including their fears, and take full charge. Instead we get stuck. MHO keeps us afraid of our emotions and separated from other people, and therefore less effective in organizing to make big changes. 

Effects of mental health oppression

Mental health oppression affects everyone—and hardly anyone realizes it. It holds people back, partly because they don’t realize they’re being held back, or that there’s such a thing as mental health oppression. It makes people doubt their own thinking, which explains why they will submit to a society that prioritizes profit, not people. It sets people up to be timid and afraid, unable to take action, and to fear change. It convinces people that they need to be “normal” in order to be successful, and that being “normal” means supporting the status quo. (To go against the status quo is to be “crazy.”) People who organize to end the climate crisis, who are opposing the status quo, can be regarded as “crazy” and can therefore be easily dismissed as having nothing to say. Even having our lives destroyed by the climate crisis can be regarded as “normal,” as just the “way things are.” 

To make the necessary changes, to end the climate crisis, we need to form connections with people who are very different from us, celebrate our differences, and work closely together. As we release the emotions that have held our distresses in place, we will more easily connect with people. Then it will be easier to organize large movements—and we need very large movements to successfully challenge the status quo. 

Psychiatric drugs and activism 

Some of the biggest corporations in the world are drug companies. Part of what they do is sell as many psychiatric drugs as possible. More and more people are being targeted with and using them, especially young people. Most general practitioners now prescribe psychiatric drugs for a variety of common complaints not just those considered to be psychiatric. Mental health professionals and other doctors may risk losing their licenses if they do not prescribe these drugs. 

Most people have no idea how physically damaging these drugs can be. In Re-evaluation Counseling, many people have stopped using them and thereby freed up their natural healing process and experienced healing.

These drugs are not only physically damaging, they also make people quieter and less motivated to be activists. People also become confused—partly because they don’t realize that the pervasive promotion of drugs is part of a larger oppression. Also, when they see people around them becoming overwhelmed, regarding themselves as “crazy,” and taking psychiatric drugs, they may become afraid that they, too, could “lose their minds.” 

Moving forward

MHO has made us afraid of or embarrassed about feeling deeply. It has made us afraid to have new thoughts, to stand up for ourselves, to be creative, to express unpopular viewpoints, to connect closely with people different from ourselves, and more. However, it is possible to heal from these fears. It is possible to regain confidence in our thinking, to face the climate crisis, to move forward and build ever more confidence as we face and handle each challenge.

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