Doctors' Day - Dr. Charach

Posted on Friday April 29, 2022
Nate Charach Headshot

On Doctors’ Day, we reflect on the hard work and sacrifices of our JBH physicians and, most importantly, express our most sincere appreciation for the care they provide in normal and in extraordinary times.

Today we are featuring Dr. Charach, a psychiatrist at Joseph Brant Hospital with a passion for eco-initiatives and understanding how climate change can affect our mental health.

“We have the technology necessary to solve the crisis, but people struggle to engage and change because they feel hopeless.”

For Dr. Charach, his passion for medicine and climate change collided in his final year of residency after reading The Geography of Hope, a book that helped him understand that the climate crisis is a social, rather than a technological problem.

“As a psychiatrist, I realized that my expertise includes understanding hopelessness and shifting motivation. It became clear that harnessing these skills to heal our planet is both effective and necessary for improving mental health outcomes.”

Currently, he is working within his department to connect mental health programming with regenerative agriculture, a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems, horticultural therapy and reconnecting with nature.

 “We know that what is good for the planet is good for our health so we need that reciprocity in all of our hospital’s programs.”

Many people can be feeling anxiety stress when thinking about the climate crisis, we asked him if he has any tips that he would like to share.

 “Anxiety is the surface emotion raising alarm bells since humanity is causing a mass extinction. Beneath this anxiety lies sadness, pain, guilt and despair.

Our culture teaches us to avoid unpleasant emotions, so we typically either deny our feelings, or focus only on anxiety. When we switch to a third narrative, we see our current systems must fall apart for a new life-sustaining society to emerge.

In this narrative, we must each find gratitude for what the earth gives us and honour our pain for the world. Allowing ourselves to feel this pain and connect with our gratitude eases anxiety and frees us to go forth to do our part in this collective change.”

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