School is letting out and the excitement of summer vacation is near. For many of us this time of year brings improved mental health, but for others there can be a decline in mental health.
Unfortunately, the warmer months don’t bring a positive emotional boost for everyone. Below is some information on mental health decline in the summer months.
For some, warmer temperatures instigate an increase in stress levels. When under stress, there is often an increase in irritability and aggression.
Depression and Suicide Risk
Nori-Sarma et al. (2022) investigated emergency room visits for mental health related concerns in relation to outside temperature levels. Their research revealed that emergency room visits for mental health reasons
(across the United States) are 8% more likely on the hottest days.
Tips to build and maintain positive mental health in the coming months:
1. Dress in light colored, light weight clothing, and seek air- conditioned areas and/or shade when available.
2. Remain physically active, whatever that means for you.
3. Make restful sleep a priority; go to bed and wake at the same time each day.
4. Maintain a consistent daily routine.
5. Choose healthy coping strategies for stress and mood; seek support as needed.
Science has identified factors related to a mental health boost in the warmer months.
Increased sun exposure leads to increased vitamin D levels, a factor in positive mental health.
Spending time in the sun also helps your body produce more melatonin (sleep hormone) at night, allowing you to sleep better. Good sleep is important for a positive mood!
Warmer weather leads to being outside walking, kayaking, jogging, swimming, and several
other outdoor activities. The scientific community has provided numerous links between physical
activity and improved mental wellbeing.
Robin S Archer Phd
is the founder of Mindful Paths Network, a group supporting counselors in their own private practice missions to provide counseling services for children, adolescents, adults, groups, couples, and families experiencing a wide variety of behavioral and mental health concerns. Mindful Paths Network's newsletter addresses a variety of mental health concerns. This blog is an extension of the newsletter which is not currently available by email request.