Extreme Heat; how longer days and hot weather impact your mental health

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Summer has officially arrived. June 21, 2022, marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.

While many are happy to celebrate the summer months, it turns out just like shorter days and colder weather can make some feel sad and lonely - the longer days, coupled with extreme heat can also adversely impact your mental health.

Shannon White moved to Atlanta from Texas a few years ago. Hot summer weather is nothing new to her, but Atlanta’s humidity can take its toll.

“It always feels like I’m suffocating when I’m outside,” said White. “I’m moody. By the time I get home, I have an attitude. After the commute, going to my car, going into the house, it’s just hot.”

The extreme heat, while an inconvenience and annoying for some, is also a serious mental health concern.

The American Psychiatric Association links hot weather to an increase in irritability, symptoms of depression and with an increase in suicide.

Also, crime in cities like Atlanta tends to increase in the summer months.

Health experts say when the temperature soars, so do tensions which can lead to increased aggression and incidents of domestic violence.

Karen Mahan visits her kids and grandchildren in Atlanta every summer. The Georgia heat is a welcome change from her home in cooler northern Ohio. While the summer sun helps to recharge Mahan’s mind, body and spirit, she also sees how it could impact others differently.

“It’s so hot and people can’t move around that you get overheated and then maybe shorter tempers, etc., etc., so,” said Mahan.

Mental health experts suggest checking in on your friends and family. They recommend having a conversation with them to see if they’re struggling with the summer heat.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit //SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.