Heat and People with Mental Illnesses
People with mental illness are at high risk for heat-related illness. The Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) explains why, and offers ways we can help.
Some medications used to treat mental illness such as anti-psychotics inhibit the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, leaving it more susceptible to heat stroke.
People with mental illnesses who live in housing without air conditioning further increase their risk.
What We Can Do:
Stay in close contact (at least twice daily) with people with mental illness, and especially those taking anti-psychotic medications.
Provide access to an air conditioner.
Help our friends remember (and remember ourselves):
Drink adequate fluids, and avoid those that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar – these can cause more loss of body fluid.
Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing
A fan can be beneficial but not reliable to cool one off once the temperatures hit the high 90s.
Take a cool shower or bath.