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Tips on how to protect your mental health as temperatures rise

Downtown Phoenix
Posted at 4:14 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 22:16:41-04

PHOENIX — We’ve all been affected by the heat, in one way or another.

Health experts, though, say high temperatures we are experiencing don’t just have the potential to cause physical damage. ABC15’s Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti says the soaring temperatures can affect mental health as well.

Our crew went to a local gas station to ask people how the heat is affecting them.

“My first year here, I didn’t think I was going to survive,” said Lala Patterson.

Patterson is from New York and says summers here are brutal.

“The heat, it can be exhausting, especially if you’re in it all day,” she added.

Jeanette Woods, though, welcomes the warm temperatures.

“I like the heat,” Woods said with a smile.

That’s because she’s used to the cold winters that come with living in Chicago.

Though Woods and Patterson can agree this heat is affecting them more than just physically.

“People seem to get angry in the heat. Their attitude changes totally and they’re angrier,” Woods told ABC15.

Dr. Marvasti says, there’s a reason for that.

“Heat can kill us in more than one way. Not only physically, but also mentally,” Dr. Marvasti said.

He says it can push people over the edge.

“If someone’s already in a challenged state, they may have a(n) increase in tendency to be suicidal. Their depression gets worse. Or someone can get more aggressive and make a poor choice that can lead to a violent crime,” he added.

Dr. Marvasti says extreme heat will also impact your sleep.

Sleep experts say when you sleep, your core body temperature must drop a degree. Which is why when there is elevated heat, it is harder to sleep.

So, falling asleep in a dark, cool room will help. He also says staying cool, limiting time in the sun, and hydrating will also alleviate mental or physical stress from the heat.

“That’s why I just go from the house to the car, from the car to the job, from the job to the train. That’s it,” Woods told ABC15.