european psychiatric association

Message from EPA President Peter Falkai

28 January 2022 – Beyond Covid : Climate change and behavioural medicine

The Covid pandemic has overshadowed 2020 and 2021. We hope to see it ending this year, but it’s hard to predict.

On the one hand Covid has forced us to join forces, use digital tools and speed up even complex processes like developing vaccines. For mankind, crises have always meant an impetus to change things and evolve in new directions.

On the other hand, Covid has distracted us from looking at other problems which need to be addressed as soon as possible. Climate change is the most important one.

What can we learn, from tackling the Covid pandemic, and transfer to climate change? To accept that there is a problem! Only then will we feel responsible and address the problem.

Droughts and floods are consequences of global warming, pollution, and destruction of our natural resources. But it seems difficult to imagine that everyone needs to change their lifestyle. Less travelling, and changing our diets and habits are part of the agenda which prevents climate change from becoming a manmade disaster.

Climate change endangers the earth, the lives of people inhabiting it and their health. Everyone knows about the problem, but only few people take it seriously.

Psychiatry, as a core discipline of behavioural medicine, has teamed up in the Covid pandemic offering digitalised diagnosis, psychotherapy and support. Psychiatrists understand how to motivate people and find liveable solutions for patients. To plan the future, we as psychiatrists should take the lessons learned from the Covid pandemic, to lead and motivate society to fulfil everyone’s personal agenda in the fight against climate change and its consequences.

Prof. Dr. Med. Peter Falkai
EPA President