APA responded to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Request for Information on a draft proposal to further the development of their 2022 Environmental Justice and Implementation plan. In APA’s submitted feedback (PDF, 355KB), psychology’s unique ability to advance individual and collective health, well-being, and justice were highlighted. We emphasized that an effective environmental justice plan must increase resources for mental health and social services, partner with stakeholders within marginalized populations, and equip environmental justice communities with effective tools to reduce health disparities.
Nearly all research areas and experimental approaches within psychology offer concepts, methods, and tools to confront the disproportionate impact of environmental burdens on vulnerable populations.
The Biden administration is directing HHS to make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying priority actions and strategies to best address environmental injustices and health disparities for marginalized groups, including Indigenous peoples, communities of color, and communities that are economically disadvantaged. Recently, HHS established the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity and pledged to lead the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants across the health care sector. APA and psychologist climate experts have shared research with the office on several occasions. The association is committed to supporting environmental justice, on behalf of its members, through evidence-based practices and social and behavioral science, with a focus on the mental health effects of climate change.