Presentation Title

Exploring the Indirect Mental Health Impacts of Cyanobacteria Blooms in St. Albans Bay

Presenter's Name(s)

Will C. CorcoranFollow

Time

11:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Food & Environmental Sciences

Abstract

Humans rely on their local environments and the services they provide for mental health resilience and overall well-being. The benefits to mental health people receive from their local environments is an important aspect of cultural ecosystem services, we worked under the framework of cultural ecosystem services to provide a lens in understanding mental health and the environment. Solastalgia has come to describe how people feel distressed when their local environments are degraded, such as the case with harmful algal blooms in bodies of freshwater. Cyanobacteria blooms decrease property values, kill aquatic life, and force people away from the water, and although many people are working to fix the issue, continued nutrient pollution and warming waters perpetuate the bloom cycle. A mixed methods approach was used to explore how cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Champlain might impact Vermont residents’ mental health and well-being. Data was collected using two main techniques: 30-minute interviews with mental health care professionals and two-question brief interviews with locals in public places. This report identifies and describes the ways that people discuss cyanobacteria blooms indirectly impact people’s mental health, particularly through the loss of cultural ecosystem services and heightening existing mental illness.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Rachelle Gould

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Environmental Studies

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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Exploring the Indirect Mental Health Impacts of Cyanobacteria Blooms in St. Albans Bay

Humans rely on their local environments and the services they provide for mental health resilience and overall well-being. The benefits to mental health people receive from their local environments is an important aspect of cultural ecosystem services, we worked under the framework of cultural ecosystem services to provide a lens in understanding mental health and the environment. Solastalgia has come to describe how people feel distressed when their local environments are degraded, such as the case with harmful algal blooms in bodies of freshwater. Cyanobacteria blooms decrease property values, kill aquatic life, and force people away from the water, and although many people are working to fix the issue, continued nutrient pollution and warming waters perpetuate the bloom cycle. A mixed methods approach was used to explore how cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Champlain might impact Vermont residents’ mental health and well-being. Data was collected using two main techniques: 30-minute interviews with mental health care professionals and two-question brief interviews with locals in public places. This report identifies and describes the ways that people discuss cyanobacteria blooms indirectly impact people’s mental health, particularly through the loss of cultural ecosystem services and heightening existing mental illness.