Extreme heat can affect mental health in serious ways

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – This summer has been extra hot, not only for Alabama, but for the whole country.

Statistically, crime numbers go up in the summer months as well. A series of medical studies explain how this unseasonable heat can also bring mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Josh Klapow said this is a phenomenon that many would not think about, but it’s useful to understand as we continue throughout this summer.

“That’s something that we’ve known clinically, but this is really one of the first series of studies to show that it happens globally. It happens independently of where you are, seasonally. And what it says is when we need to be on most alert for seeking mental health services, and on the provider side, for providing mental health services, because this is more than getting angry and engaging in violent behavior. This can be lethal in terms of self-harm behavior,” Klapow said.

He recommends that if you have an existing condition know that your patience and tolerance threshold may be less and to not try to just push your way through. He also recommends getting help from a mental health professional if needed.

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