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What You Should Know About Extreme Heat, its Effects on Mental Health and a Few Tips on Staying Cool

The days are getting hot! What many may not know is that extreme heat can potentially trigger unwanted behaviors and may lead to major crisis for people with pre-existing mental health illnesses or disorders. Extreme heat may even have significant effects on mental health and behavior in general. Impacts of extreme heat on behavior include violence, suicide, mood changes, insomnia and negative effects on cognition.

Here are a few tips to help keep you and your loved one’s cool:

1. Keep out of direct sunlight

2. Drink cold water often. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you're ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you'll have a supply of cold water with you.

3. Use cold washcloths

4. Eat cool foods (ex. Fruit, juices, etc.)

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.

6. Wear loose fitting clothing

7. If you don't have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.

We hope these tips can help you and your loved one’s stay cool in this extreme heat. At La Familia Del Paso we aim to educate our members on all things mental health. If you have any questions or comments, please contact our office at 915-239-2955. If an emergency occurs, please call 911.

Cooper, R. (n.d.). The Impacts of Extreme Heat on Mental Health. Psychiatric Times.

Felson, S. (n.d.) First Aid Emergencies: What Heat Can Do to Your Body. MedicineNet.

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