Collective Care in a Warming World: MCJ Holds Well-being Workshop and Mental Health Discussion

Amid rising global temperatures and climate-related disasters, the mental health and well-being of those on the front lines of the climate crisis deserve prime attention. 

Human rights defenders (HRDs) and climate advocates face the psychological toll of addressing environmental challenges and the added mental burden of threats and reprisals. To address this, the Mindanao Climate Justice Resource Facility, Inc.  (MCJ) sought to explore ways to understand and address the mental health and well-being of HRDs amid a changing climate.

MCJ held a discussion with renowned psychiatrist Dr. Reggie Pamugas from the Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR) on December 7, 2023. Dr. Pamugas discussed the adverse effects of the climate crisis on mental health, providing ways to cope with climate-induced stress and anxiety. This was followed by a fruitful consultation with MCJ staff and volunteers on health and well-being.

Apart from the discussion, MCJ held a well-being workshop with psychologist Meg Yarcia on March 13, 2024. The workshop brought out insights from HRDs on fostering collective care in the organization while carrying out human rights work and climate advocacy.

The activities were conducted through MCJ’s Panalipod HRD Program. Recognizing the inextricable link between climate change and human rights, initiatives that hold space to recognize the impacts of climate change on mental health and well-being are crucial for the proactive protection of HRDs.