Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has said he is worried about Greta’s mental wellbeing (Picture: EPA – Nine)

A leading psychologist has said he is ‘worried’ about the mental wellbeing of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. Swedish schoolgirl Greta inspired millions of people across 150 countries to take to the streets to demand action on climate change with her Global Strike 4 Climate last week. She then made a powerful speech at the UN climate summit in New York, accusing world leaders of ‘stealing her childhood’ by doing nothing to combat the environmental crisis. Her emotional message has created a movement but the teenager has faced continued criticism – including most recently being mocked by the president of the United States. Today, one of Australia’s most-high profile psychologists has said he is concerned that Greta, 16, is being used as a ‘political pawn’. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said he was extremely concerned ‘about her going the same way as child TV stars’ and that she could ‘burn out’.

Protesters at the Global Climate Strike in London last Friday (Picture: PA)

Greta was joined by thousands of people at the march in New York the same day (Picture: Getty)

He said: ‘I’m not a climate changer denier, I actually think we do need to be doing more about saving the planet. ‘I just worry about the fact we use a kid like this, who arguably should be getting treatment because she’s said she’s had anorexia, said she’s had Asperger’s and said she’s battled depression.’ He added: ‘My criticism isn’t so much of her, but her parents and the climate change activists who use her shamelessly and I think that the Left can be somewhat hypocritical at times.’ He said kids should be in school but are instead rallying because ‘they’ve been convinced the end of the world is nigh’. The psychologist said: ‘She’s now put herself at the centre of worldwide either Greta-phobia or Greta-mania and I don’t think any 16-year-old girl should be.’ But environmental psychologist Dr Renee Lertzman argues Greta is far from being ‘hysterical’ or mentally unwell. She said: ‘Greta’s meteorite rise reflects a profound, collective yearning for sanity and leadership on climate. ‘To date, we are not seeing this kind of leadership we urgently need: truth telling and grounded. ‘Greta is neither hysterical or out of touch. She has simply filled a void. ‘Her being a child only adds to her power as someone who clearly is without vested interests or ego. ‘The attacks on her speak to our own discomfort with seeing a model of leadership our adults would ideally be demonstrating.’

Greta herself fired back at the criticism aimed towards her last night, tweeting: ‘I honestly don’t understand why adults would choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science, when they could do something good instead. ‘I guess they must simply feel so threatened by us. ‘But don’t waste your time giving them any more attention. ‘The world is waking up. Change is coming whether they like it or not. ‘See you in the streets this Friday!’.

A Greta needs you placard at the London march (Picture: PA)

The activist has inspired millions of children and young people to protest (Picture: PA)

Greta will be joined on the streets this Friday for a second Global Climate Strike inspired by her ‘Fridays for Future’ movement. Last week, at least four million people across 150 countries walked out of school and work to demand global action on climate change. Then, in her emotionally charged speech at the United Nations on Monday, Greta was close to tears as she told world leaders: ‘This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. ‘I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you.’ The teenager was mocked by Donald Trump online hours after the powerful statement and responded by briefly changing her Twitter bio to reflect his sarcastic jibe. For several hours this week it read: ‘A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.’
Previous Next