Psychiatric impact of heatwave

It is also your mind

The temperature of Delhi has crossed the boundaries of 50 degrees Celsius in the last few days. The extreme climate in Delhi creates a huge barrier for people to work comfortably in their spheres. This is especially true in the cases of street vendors and those who do not have any AC cabins to work.

Recently it has been ordered to cut the working hours between 12 to 3 for construction workers as this extreme heat is continuously deteriorating the health of workers.

Students amid this heatwave, especially those who have migrated to Delhi for their studies are now the most vulnerable section to get hit by this heatwave and along with the physical problem, studies and research proved that this extreme climate in India is responsible for the gradual deterioration of mental health of individuals. 

Mental health is something that carries a big hand in maintaining the quality of work. In the cases where heatwaves are hitting this, it will not only create suffering for individuals but also affect the quality of their productivity. Financial input daily becomes very important in cases where the family lives on daily wages.

Thus, this extreme climate and the need for finances are pushing the poor and middle class into the arena of anxiety and depression. Students require a normal temperature in their rooms to properly function their minds. This optimal temperature is something that is not affordable for all of us. Thus, those who can’t afford it are missing the level playing field, especially in competitive examinations. This extreme climate is a warning that something is not normal in the environment. 

Environment and mental health 

The kind of environment we live in (here environment is a word connected to nature) significantly impacts our mental health. Our body and mind for optimal functioning require a range of temperatures that our body is adapted to. Due to the increase in temperature as ever recorded, it is continuously deteriorating the mental health of individuals.

NCBI reports that present heat waves have disrupted sleep patterns and increased mood fluctuations among individuals. It also stated, “Long‐term exposure to high temperatures can also affect cognitive abilities like recall, concentration, and intellectual ability.” Memory attention and reaction time get affected and individuals are now more prone to anxiety and if prevail for long into depression 

Students, temperature and mental health 

In the context of students, especially those who are preparing for any kind of competitive exams are now a vulnerable section to this heat wave. Students who aspire to crack any exam require a skill set and mental ability. This needed to be expressed during examination hours. But everyone knows that we do not have any temperature regulatory mechanism in examination halls and every body type has different tolerance levels to heat.

It means that while giving an examination, rather than a proper examination of the intended domain that the exam desires to check, this heat can alter the answers there too by making vulnerable students uncomfortable and thus pulling them away from a level playing field. 

Along with examinations, the preparation and research work does require an optimal level of temperature to work. Extreme temperatures altering the mental health of individuals can increase the frustration level of students thereby creating hinderances in their pathway to study. 

Because generally, all schools have declared early vacations this time, most students are now residing at their own homes. This has phenomenally increased the screen time of students and this increasing graph of online exposure of school students again has its ramifications as experienced during the time of COVID. 

You have the right to get good mental health 

Having a healthy body and healthy mind is something of a natural right of human beings. This increase in temperature behind which the ongoing wars across the world and climate change are responsible is curtailing these rights.

The problems arising in the environment are alarming things that need urgent attention. Thus, it becomes very necessary to protect mental health deterioration amid these intense heat waves. To protect your mental health in this challenging situation we can take the following steps to make our way forward to fight climate change: – 

1. Live in green belts: –

Wherever you are living, please make sure to have an optimal level of greenery there. Money plants and similar other plants are responsible for extreme amounts of oxygen supply in homes. Thus, please develop the green belts in your vicinity to have a healthy mental health amid heat waves 

2. Don’t compromise with your sleep schedule:-

It is your sleep schedule that will heal you from the daily sufferings of your life. Please try to maintain this sleep schedule to have better immunity against this skin-thickening heat. 

3. Be hydrated: –

Coconut water, lemon juice, and fruit juices are something that will not only maintain the nutrient level in your body but also prevent you from extreme heat waves 

4. Avoid being out in peak times: –

We can avoid working outside of walls during peak hours of 12 to 3 pm to protect our mind and body from the repercussions of this heat wave.  

Thus, in a nutshell, we can conclude that along with the physical vulnerability, this heat wave also has a mental vulnerability. Thus, it becomes very important for us t protect ourselves from such heatwaves and live a hydrotreated and healthy life to maintain optimal levels of performance.  



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