Wild weather hurting Aussie mental health

Australians are suffering a raft of mental health problems as a result of the country's worsening extreme weather, a new survey has found.

The Climate Council poll released on Thursday found half of its 2032 respondents reported an adverse effect on their mental health due to an extreme weather event, while one in five reported a "major or moderate impact".

Of those polled 63 per cent reported experiencing heatwaves, while 47 per cent reported flooding and 42 per cent went through a bushfire since 2019.

Droughts affected 36 per cent of respondents, cyclones or bad storms hit 29 per cent of those polled, while landslides impacted eight per cent of people.

The most common mental health symptoms were anxiety, followed by depression, sleep issues and PTSD, a linked survey found, while one in four reported exacerbation of an existing mental health problem.

Additionally, 15 per cent of respondents reported a negative impact on relationships while 10 per cent reported alcohol problems.

The research found those affected were more likely to live in rural and regional areas (61%), than those in urban areas of the country (37%).

Some 37 per cent of participants said there was not enough mental health support available to them, according to the survey backed by not-for-profit support organisation, Beyond Blue.

Australian National University climate scientist Joelle Gergis called the results "confronting", saying they showed the invisible mental health toll of changing climate.

Dr Gergis pointed in particular to devastating crises like the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires and 2022 east coast floods.

"Extreme weather events are going to escalate as our planet continues to warm, so the impacts we have witnessed in recent years are really just the tip of the iceberg," she said in a statement.

"We urgently need to develop plans that protect and support our local communities as climate change-fuelled disasters continue to upend the lives of countless Australians."

She warned that the types of weather that impacted mental health were likely to "become normalised" in years ahead, as Australia's climate heated.

Grant Blashki, Beyond Blue's lead clinical advisor, said the research revealed climate change was not just about physical threats, but also emotional wellbeing.

Associate professor Blashki told reporters on Wednesday that the extreme weather across the country had led to "broken spirits of many communities".

"We need to make sure that mental health services are not the poor cousin, that we take it seriously, (and) that we get on the front foot," he said.