Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Cybele Dey is the Chair of the Mental Health Working Group and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) based in Sydney. In a recent edition of NSW AMA Magazine published on the 27th of January, she spoke about international research showing a link between extreme heat and humidity, hospital admissions and deaths from suicide. She calls for more Australian research in this area as a matter of urgency.
Opportunities to raise awareness of the issue have included an expert panel discussion on climate change and mental health, correcting misinformation, and co-authoring a report, How Climate Change affects Mental Health in Australia. Within the RANZCP, Dr Dey has facilitated the participation of Professor Tim Flannery, one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change, as the keynote speaker for the RANZCP 2022 Congress in Sydney.
“The seriousness of what is at stake remains a powerful motivator, and medical practitioners are in a unique position as trusted messengers of health information.”
She also talks about why it has been personally and professionally empowering and invigorating to take an active role within Doctors for the Environment Australia.
“Being with like-minded colleagues has provided the opportunity to share the frustrations and distress and to take ‘values-based action,’ part of healthy coping. As one colleague said, “[being part of DEA] is my antidepressant.”