AUDIO | The 2018 spring flooding in New Brunswick devastated communities along the Saint John River. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes during the flood event. And then spring flooding struck again in 2019.
We actually don’t have any good research out there that really tracks people long term and tracks people’s changing beliefs on climate change and the changing implications of response when multi-year disasters hit. — Julia Woodhall-Melnik, comments to CBC News (June 2019)
Housing loss during and after natural disasters can lead to a number of physical and mental health issues including fatigue, depression, anxiety, grief, sleep disturbances, substance abuse, and the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But social capital can promote resilience and limit extended periods of homelessness in communities that have experienced natural disasters. However, there has been no systematic study of the impact of social capital on housing trajectories, mental health, and community building following disasters in Canada…until now.
Julia Woodhall-Melnik is an assistant professor of Social Science at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. She’s researching the social and mental health effects associated with the severe flooding in New Brunswick in 2018 and 2019. Julia’s research also looks at beliefs and concepts about climate change. Have back-to-back floods changed views on climate change?
Julia Woodhall-Melnik spoke about her research – and what she’s discovered so far – on People First Radio.
RELATED | Last week, 15 Canadian youth launched a lawsuit against the Canadian government for failing to act on climate change. The young people each claim that climate change has impacted their health and wellbeing. Among them is Duncan local Sierra Robinson, 17. Robinson suffers from Lyme disease, made more common by the spread of ticks in a warming climate, according to the statement of claim. Her asthma is exacerbated by wildfire smoke. Droughts are making it harder for her to grow food on her farm and enjoy local swimming holes. All of this contributes to symptoms of anxiety and depression that have increased in correlation with the impacts of climate change, the lawsuit says. Read more at The Discourse…
Image (top): Kingston, New Brunswick (May 3, 2018): Spring Flooding at The Willows – Waddell Home, Reed’s Point (iStockphoto)