How Does Summer Affect Your Mental Health?

By Francine Martinez, Ph.D. 

We are again in the throes of summer; warm weather, sunshine, and vacations. Somehow life seems to be just a little bit better for most of us.  So, what does that mean about our mental health?

In 2013 the United States and Australia joined together with Google to track trends in searches regarding mental health issues.  The results parallel what the medical and mental health community have observed; mental health concerns drop in the summer and increase in the winter. Major mental illnesses considered in the study included anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, anorexia and depression.  Here are some of the findings:

  • Eating disorder searches were down 37 percent in summers versus winters in the U.S., and 42 percent in summers in Australia.
  • Schizophrenia searches decreased 37 percent during U.S. summers and by 36 percent in Australia.
  • Bipolar searches were down 16 percent during U.S. summers and 17 percent during Australian summers.
  • ADHD searches decreased by 28 percent in the U.S. and 31 percent in Australia during summertime.
  • OCD searches were down 18 percent and 15 percent, and bipolar searches decreased by 18 percent and 16 percent, in the U.S. and Australia respectively.
  • Searches for suicide declined 24 and 29 percent during U.S. and Australian summers and anxiety searches had the smallest seasonal change – down 7 percent during U.S. summers and 15 percent during Australian summers.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has been extensively researched for years in the medical/mental health communities. It is a type of depression that’s....

This blog was taken from the Therapy Changes website and click here to finish reading this article.