Priorities for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Intervention Research in the Context of the Climate Crisis : A Modified Delphi Study

The climate crisis is adversely impacting mental health and wellbeing. Research on interventions to address these impacts remains scarce, particularly in humanitarian settings. This study used a modified Delphi process to identify research priorities for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and climate crisis research, drawing on the perspectives of those with demonstrated interest, engagement, and/or expertise in MHPSS and the climate crisis. The study consisted of two online surveys. In the first survey, demographic and qualitative data were collected and analysed to generate a list of research priorities and a concept map to describe the area of climate crisis and MHPSS research. In the second survey, participants ranked and rated their agreement with priorities and provided recommendations for modification of individual priorities and the concept map. In total, 91 experts working primarily but not exclusively in MHPSS programming or practice participated in the study. Consensus was reached on 20 research priorities, and 8 top-ranked priorities were identified. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, MHPSS and climate crisis research must contribute to mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis while promoting both mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and just international development.


Key implications for practice

• Evidence is emerging of substantial impacts of the climate crisis on mental health and wellbeing, but little MHPSS and climate crisis intervention research has been conducted to date, thereby underscoring the need for identification of priorities that can inform research funding decisions to support work in this area.

• Research to understand the needs of populations experiencing climate crisis-related impacts is needed to inform context and population-specific MHPSS and climate change programming.

• Programmatic needs and resource assessments and the collection of rigorous monitoring and evaluation data along with practically focused research using diverse methodologies are needed to better elucidate how to address the needs of climate crisis-affected populations, ensuring they are placed at the centre of responses.

Jura Augustinavicius, Viola Graef, Alessandro Massazza, Michelle Engels, Julian Eaton, Kyle Hill, Michael Ungar & Leslie Snider | 2022
In: Interventions : Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas : ISSN: 1571-8883 | 20 | May | 68-80
Affected Populations, Climate change, Effects, Humanitarian Assistance, Interventions, Mental health, Program Evaluation, Psychosocial support, Quality of Life, Research