Survey results: National study of the impact of climate-fuelled disasters on the mental health of Australians

19.01.23 By
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Australians are facing increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather disasters driven by climate change. In December 2022, Climate Council, supported by Beyond Blue, undertook an extensive two-part national study designed to better understand the impact of climate-fuelled disasters on mental health in Australia, and how best to support the wellbeing, recovery and resilience of communities.

The first part of this study was a poll conducted by YouGov with a representative national sample of 2,032 Australians. The second part, conducted in parallel and hereafter referred to as the “community survey”, sought to gain some deeper insights from those in disaster-affected communities, and saw 476 self-selected Australians share their personal experience of climate-fuelled disasters.

This paper provides a snapshot of some of the most significant findings from both of these surveys. A full report with detailed analysis of the results, case studies, and full recommendations, will be published on 28 February 2023.

Key findings from YouGov Survey:

Number of Australians who have experienced an extreme weather event:

Worries about climate change and extreme weather events in Australia:

Impacts of climate-fuelled disasters on mental health:

Provision of mental health support following disasters:

Climate Council and Beyond Blue express their deepest gratitude to the hundreds of individuals who kindly and courageously contributed their stories, experiences and insights to this study.

The National survey data comes from a National YouGov Poll conducted from 2-16 December 2022. The sample covered Australians aged over 18 including representatives of different genders, generations, geographies (states, city/rural, etc.), education levels, income levels, voting habits, and other characteristics.

From 1-16 December, in parallel with the national survey, the Climate Council and Beyond Blue invited Australians to share their experiences of climate-fuelled disasters with a Community Survey. This was by way of an online qualitative survey, advertised through the Climate Council and Beyond Blue respective networks.