Monday, 9 December 2013

A New Field of Mental Health Study

We need novel earth-related concepts to give expression to our feelings about environmental and climatic change. I have created a ‘psychoterratic typology’ of earth related emotions and feelings that captures the field as it has evolved in past and contemporary environmental and place writing. I have now placed the concept of solastalgia within the psychoterratic typology. Solastalgia was created by me to fill a gap in our suite of earth-related emotions where people experience a deep form of existential distress when directly experiencing unwelcome change in their loved home environment. Solastalgia sits among closely related experiences of trauma, distress, grief and melancholia that are now, unfortunately, often connected to escalating occurrences of acute and chronic environmental change. These negative earth-related emotions and experiences already afflict many hundreds of thousands of people worldwide as they are confronted by both natural and human-caused climate and landscape change. I suggest that we call the “new field of mental health study, to probe the link between climate change and mental health” the domain of the psychoterratic.