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Second Opinion: Tips for Helping Young People Navigate Climate Anxiety

Blue Shield’s Behavioral Health director provides strategies for parents and caregivers to help young people cope with concerns about climate change.

This story is also available in Spanish.

Climate change, an ever-looming concern, is having a profound impact on the mental health of young people. In a 2023 survey commissioned by Blue Shield of California's BlueSky initiative, 68% of youth polled said they experienced a negative mental health issue  — such as anxiety, stress or feeling overwhelmed — in response to hearing about or experiencing climate change.

"For young people and adults, eco-anxiety means feeling extreme worry about the state of our planet and fear for the future. Young people are grappling with a profound sense of helplessness as they witness the devastating impacts of climate change unfold in real time. Climate change also matters deeply to youth because it's about the world they'll inherit, the one they'll live in and pass on to their own children,” said David Bond, director of Behavioral Health at Blue Shield of California. “Caring adults play a vital role in nurturing resilience and hope in young people amid the challenges of climate change.”

Bond provides several tips to help youth cope with climate anxiety:


Encourage open dialogue: Create a safe space for youth to express their fears and concerns about climate change. Listen actively and honor their emotions about climate change and its impact on humanity. Reassure them that their feelings are valid, and that it's okay to feel overwhelmed at times.

Provide context and reassurance: Help your child understand the complexities of climate change while emphasizing that there are solutions and people working towards positive change. Engage in honest conversations about the challenges we face, as well as the actions being taken to address them.

Model positive coping strategies: Lead by example and demonstrate healthy ways of managing stress and anxiety. Practice self-care together, engaging in activities that promote relaxation, connection and well-being.

Stay informed but set boundaries: While it's important to stay informed about climate change issues, constant exposure to distressing news can exacerbate anxiety. Set specific times to consume information and balance it with activities that bring joy and relaxation.

Foster hope and empower action: Encourage youth to channel their concerns into meaningful action. Support their involvement in local environmental initiatives, advocacy efforts or projects that promote sustainability. Empowering them to take tangible steps towards positive change can instill a sense of agency and cultivate a sense of hope and optimism about the future. In addition, connecting with like-minded neighbors and advocates can create a supportive network around shared experiences, and working collectively towards a common goal fosters resilience and a sense of belonging.

Seek help: If eco-anxiety begins to significantly impact a young person’s daily life and activities, consider seeking guidance from a professional, appropriately licensed therapist.

“Parents and caregivers can help young people navigate climate anxiety with resilience, empathy and a sense of purpose, fostering a hopeful outlook and empowering them to contribute to a more sustainable world,” Bond concluded. 


  • BlueSky, Blue Shield’s youth mental health initiative, invests in organizations that provide resources for students, parents and educators. Learn more at
  • Blue Shield of California is committed to addressing climate change. To learn more about our sustainability and corporate citizenship efforts, visit
  • Wellness Education Lab (WEL) offers trainings that provide students (13+), parents, caregivers and educators with resources to improve youth mental health and resilience. WEL is offered by BlueSky partner, Wellness Together.
  • provides peer-to-peer resources to support youth mental health and activation to civic action. is supported by BlueSky.