Sustainability, Environmental Change and Health

Deakin Health Economics, Determinants of Health, Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition

To profile the Institute and its partners’ research capabilities in sustainability, environmental change, and health.


To build an evidence informed health sector capable of responding to the health impacts of environmental change.


To expand multi-disciplinary research collaborations between Institute for Health Transformation researchers, Deakin University Faculty of Health and other Institute partners on sustainability, environmental change, health and healthcare.


To achieve real-world impact by creating and exchanging new and high-quality knowledge; by making that knowledge available to our sector and industry partners and working with them to translate it into action; by strengthening evidence-based policy-making; and by supporting the best investment decisions on sustainability and health.

Keeping the Future in Mind (KTFIM)

Climate change affects mental wellbeing through complex and interrelated pathways. Young people are particularly at risk of the psychological burdens of climate anxiety, fear and distress. However, young people are also motivated to act on climate change which can promote a sense of agency and hope. Researchers from IHT’s Health, Nature, Sustainability Research Group and GLOBE teamed up (with a seed grant from IHT/SHSD) to implement the Keeping the Future in Mind (KTFIM) project. The aim was to map (using systems dynamics and STiCKE software technology) the drivers of climate-related mental wellbeing, as well as actions and priorities to improve mental wellbeing of young people aged 18-24 years in Australia.

 Study participants vividly evoked the experience of young people; the sense of fear and powerlessness linked to not having a voice, not having their concerns acknowledged or acted upon, and feeling that the onus is on them to manage a climate-changed and uncertain future.  On the flipside, they also identified positive drivers such as social media as a catalyst for promoting wellbeing by providing a connection to a community of shared values and climate action; connection to nature as well as having a voice and role in decision-making.

 The short report sets out a range of recommendations for action including generating further research and evidence to increase local government and NGO capacity to raise awareness of young people’s climate-related wellbeing, and co-design interventions with young people.