skip to Main Content

Eco-Anxiety: the Mental Health Crisis (We Aren’t Talking About) and How We Can Help

A growing number of teens and young adults are experiencing mental health issues related to the impacts of climate change. They suffer from a condition called “eco-anxiety.”        


Sustainability leader Heather White notes that Generation Z (those born after 1997) face the “cascading issues” of economic recession, a global pandemic, systemic racism and climate change. “That means the future they are inheriting is uncertain and scary,” she says. 


White will outline how older generations can help “the most anxious generation” create a better future in the Center for the Environment’s online discussion, slated for Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. She will be joined by Maggie Dees, a senior at Salem Academy in Winston-Salem; Taylor Marshall, a senior at Catawba College; Nina MacKinnon, a junior at Catawba; and Lauren Stephenson, a counselor at Catawba. Dr. John Wear, Executive Director of the Center for the Environment, will moderate the discussion.


White is CEO of Heather White Strategies, a consulting firm for businesses, foundations and non-profit organizations based in Bozeman, Mont. She is a nationally recognized sustainability leader, non-profit executive and expert on environmental law and policy.


Formerly, she served as president and CEO of Yellowstone Forever, the official non-profit partner of Yellowstone National Park; executive director of Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment; and director of education advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation, the nation’s largest conservation organization.  


White is often cited in national news outlets on conservation matters, including MSNBC, PBS, CBS, New York Times, The Guardian and The Washington Post.    


Maggie Dees has been involved in numerous activities during her years at Salem Academy, including the Salem Academy Honor Cabinet, Athletic Council and Ecology Club. In addition, she has acted in theater productions and served on the yearbook staff. Dees has worked as an intern with the Natural Resource Defense Council and One Green Thing. She plans to major in Environmental Studies in college and to research public health and the environment in low-income areas around the world after college.


Taylor Marshall is pursuing a double major in Business Administration and Environment & Sustainability with concentrations in entrepreneurship and environmental policy and advocacy. She serves on the Student Government Association and is a member of the Alpha Orientation Association and National Society of Leadership and Success. Her interests include farming, regenerative practices, natural medicine and self-development.


Nina MacKinnon, an Environment and Sustainability major, is in the Honors Program at Catawba. She is especially interested in environmental advocacy, sustainable urban design and agriculture. She is also active on the regional level in addressing climate change.


Lauren Stephenson is in her third year working as a counselor at Catawba College. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Wake Forest University and an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from UNC-Greensboro. She also serves as a part-time counselor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury. Lauren works with clients presenting a wide array of mental health issues, including depression/anxiety, mood disorders, relationship conflict, school and work-related stress, and grief and loss.


To register for the online presentation, call 704.637.4727 or click HERE 



The Center for the Environment at Catawba College was founded in 1996 to provide education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and to foster community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country.

Back To Top