Impact of the Heatwave on Mental Health

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The Impact of the Heatwave on Mental Health


Like it or loathe it the recent high temperatures can have a wider impact on our mental and physical health than we might first think.

Violence and Harm

Climate change can be linked to an increase in suicide rates according to a report in the journal Nature Climate Change July 23rd 2018. There are other theories that believe conflict, violence and warmer weather could also be linked. Some people not only hurt others but hurt themselves.  Heat can profoundly affect the human mind and how we decide to inflict harm.


Mood can be affected by the weather: spending time in the sun can make you feel lethargic and more tired than usual. This can be a sign of dehydration or because your body is working overtime to control your temperature. Extended periods in the heat can cause sleeplessness, lethargy, lack of appetite and dehydration, all of which can lead to aggressive behaviour as well as anxiety.

Warm weather and sunlight can also have an impact for people using psychotropic medications according to the combination of certain medications and sunlight can cause photosensitivity – an inflammation of the skin similar to sunburn.

Physical Health

High temperatures can also impact on physical health by putting some people at an increased risk of dying form cardiac, kidney and respiratory disease. The higher air pollution also presents a risk for some people.

Some hospitals in England have reported a record number of people attending A&E during the extreme hot weather.

What can we do to keep cool?

  • Keep out of the sun wherever possible but especially between 11am and 3pm
  • Close curtain to keep the house cool
  • Open windows when the temperature drops outside below the temperature inside
  • Where loose, light clothing and remember sunscreen and a hat

Lowering Body Temperature

  • Reduce levels of physical exertion
  • Take regular cool baths or showers
  • Splash cool water on your face and the back of your neck.
  • A damp cloth at the back of your neck helps temperature regulation
  • Drink plenty of fluids regularly particularly water and fruit juice – avoid alcohol and caffeine

1 in 4 people in England need mental health support*

We’re here to ensure you do not have to face it alone.

If you feel like you need professional help, we’re a private mental health hospital in Windsor with nurses on hand 24 hours a day who provide expert clinical treatment.

You can call Cardinal Clinic on 01753 869755 for confidential help and advice or send us an enquiry.

*McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.

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