Seeking solutions: Pollution and mental health in a changing world

There are lots of ways to take action.

In our 5-part series Pollution's mental toll, we laid out some of the ways climate change and polluted air and water impact mental health in western Pennsylvania.


Below are ways to support your mental health and push for solutions to these problems.

Take care of your mental health

If you're in need of new tools to take care of your mental health, you're not alone. There are resources available:

Pittsburgh-area mental health crisis services

Find a counselor near you

Online therapy services

Climate Psychiatry Alliance has resources to cope with mental health and climate change, and a search function to find a climate-aware therapist.

The Good Grief Network is a 10-step program inspired by the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous whose meetings help "individuals and communities build resilience by creating spaces where people can lean into their painful feelings about the state of the world and reorient their lives toward meaningful action."

Visible Hands Collaborative is a father-daughter psychiatry team from Pittsburgh that's working to build community therapy groups, called Integrative Community Therapy. They are currently online, but planning to start in person (free) sessions at the Squirrel Hill Health Center.

Radical Support Collective is focused on "social change leaders"—people who are working on climate change and other issues, and looking for coaching and training to avoid burnout and continue to work with purpose and joy.

Take action for clean air

If you're interested in advocating for cleaner air for the sake of better physical and mental health, there are many ways to get involved:

Report local air pollution to the Allegheny County Health Department online or via phone (412-687-ACHD).

Download the Smell Pittsburgh app to submit and map air pollution concerns in the region.

Connect with local groups advocating for cleaner air:

Allegheny County Clean Air Now

Breathe Project

Clean Air Council

Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP)

OnePA

PennEnvironment

PennFuture

Connect with national groups advocating for cleaner air:

American Lung Association

EarthJustice

Moms Clean Air Force

Contact your legislators to let them know this issue is important to you.

Submit public comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to strengthen federal air pollution standards (comment period is open until December 14, 2021).

Take action for safe drinking water

Get help paying your water bill.

Learn what contaminants are in your drinking water and contact your local water authority to request improvements.

Contact your legislators to let them know this issue is important to you.

Connect with local groups advocating for safe drinking water:

Lead Safe Allegheny

OnePA

PennEnvironment

Women for a Healthy Environment

Connect with national groups advocating for safer drinking water:

Campaign for Lead-Free Water

Clean Water Action

Environmental Working Group

Take action for climate solutions

Connect with local groups advocating for climate solutions:

Communitopia

Green New Deal Pittsburgh

Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh

Connect with national groups advocating for climate solutions:

350.org

Citizens' Climate Lobby

Extinction Rebellion

Submit public comments on the EPA's proposal to strengthen methane regulations for the oil and gas industry.

Banner photo: Members of Pittsburgh Youth for Climate Action meeting on the grounds of Phipps Conservatory in Oakland. (Credit: Njaimeh Njie)

This story is part of a collaboration between Environmental Health News and The Allegheny Front for a series called "Pollution's mental toll: How air, water and climate change shape our mental health," with funds from the Pittsburgh Media Partnership.

Follow the fallout from this investigation on Twitter at the hashtag: #EHNmentalhealth

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