Psychological impact of natural disaster

February 16, 2019

A new study is underway to explore the psychological impact of floods, wildfires and other natural disasters that result from climate change.  Leading this study are UBC Okanagan researchers Dr. Carolyn Szostak, Associate Professor in Psychology, and Dr. Nelly Oelke, Associate Professor in Nursing and IHLCDP Associate.  The researchers are interested in talking with people living in the Okanagan-Similkameen area — an area hit hard by wildfires and floods last year to learn more about the long-term impacts. Working with the research team are Brandy Lynch and Ali Caldwell, UBCO undergraduate students in psychology who are completing their honours thesis on the topic.  Residents and service/support providers whose work-related responsibilities were impacted by the wildfires and/or floods in the region are invited to contact the study team for more information by email: or or by telephone 250-807-8736.

Dr. Oelke will follow-up on this research and explore interventions to address the mental health impacts of climate change events supported by a Killam Research Fellowship where part of the time will be spent collaborating with researchers at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in Orange, Australia.

Watch the Global TV interview with the researchers about this new study:  Psychological impacts of life in wildfire flooding areas