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.

For More Information

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