Oregon bill takes preventive approach to psycho-social-spiritual impacts of climate change

 

A hearing will be held on April 3 on a recently introduced bill (SB 1037) to create a task force to determine how to make resilience training available to all Oregonians in response to climate change.  Under the bill, an 18-member task force would be created to study aspects of psychological, emotional, and psychosocial resilience education and skills training. 

The Oregon members of the International Transformation Resilience Coalition (ITRC), including ITRC coordinator, Bob Doppelt, have worked on and promoted the legislation.  The bill reflects the ITRC focus on theprevention—not post trauma/disaster treatment—of the adverse mental health and psychosocial impacts of climate change.  Doppelt says that state and local public health and other programs now focus on diagnosing and treating climate change-generated mental health and psycho-social-spiritual maladies rather than building personal and collective resilience beforehand to prevent them and that needs to change. Click here for Doppelt’s testimony (also attached to this article).

The long term goals and focus of ITRC—summarized in the newly released document “Call to Action to Make Resilience Education and Skill-Training Universal by 2015”—served as a foundational document for ITRC members’ involvement in shaping the legislation. 

The hearing on Wednesday will be held in the Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee.  In addition to Bob Doppelt, other ITRC steering committee members were involved in developing the strategy around the bill, including Dr. David Pollack, professor for public policy in the departments of Psychiatry, Family Medicine and the Division of Management at Oregon Health Sciences University and Mandy Davis, Director of Trauma Informed Oregon

For more information about the ITRC’s activities and positions, visit the ITRC community on ACEs Connection.  ITRC has active steering committees in the Pacific Northwest and in California. Preliminary discussions are underway with stakeholders in California about the prospects for a similar bill in that state.  Doppelt encourages advocates to promote this approach in other states as well as at the county and municipal levels. 

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