The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change: Two different, but equally important, crises having major psychosocial impacts
Mélissa Généreux, PhD
Almost two years since the start of the pandemic, significant psychosocial impacts are still observed in the Canadian population. The results of various surveys, as part of a study carried out by Université of Sherbrooke with the collaboration of international universities, have depicted the association between various risk/protective factors and mental health in times of pandemic. The most recent survey was conducted in October 2021 (in Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland) among a large and representative sample of adults. Special attention will be paid to the evolution in anxiety and depression and its associated risk/protective factors, as well as to a newly explored concept called “pandemic fatigue”. In addition to these results, some interesting comparisons between the attitudes, perceptions and responses towards the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change will be made. Lessons in disaster risk management learned over the past two years can indeed be utilized to enhance risk management of other global crises, including climate change. This study allows to increase the understanding of the psychosocial impacts of these two different, but equally important, crises (i.e., the pandemic and climate change).
Dr. Mélissa Généreux
Professor, Université de Sherbrooke
Mélissa Généreux holds a doctorate in medicine, a master's degree in public health and a specialization in community medicine from the University of Montreal. After having been appointed as Director of Public Health for six years in the Estrie region, she now acts as a medical adviser both at the regional and provincial level in Quebec. She has developed an expertise in the field of disaster management and psychosocial recovery through her strong involvement during the Lac-Mégantic rail tragedy in 2013 that destroyed a large part of the downtown area, both as a researcher and as a decision-maker, as well as through her support brought to public health authorities as a consultant during the 2016 Fort McMurray fires in Alberta and the 2017 and 2019 spring floods in Quebec. As a member of the WHO Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework Research Network (TPRN), she has developed a strong international network and has contributed to several knowledge creation and transition activities in the field of disaster risk reduction (e.g. WHO expert meeting, workshops, conferences, scientific papers, reports, book chapters). She is currently leading two studies, one on the sociosanitary consequences during and after the 2019 spring floods in Quebec, and another on the psychological and behavioral response to the COVID-19 pandemic.