July 14, 2005

Keeping Homeless Out of Heat

Many officials in Ottawa, Canada are attempting to keep the homeless out of the heat due to the fact that a large percentage of them suffer from various mental disorders. Unfortunately officials can not force the homeless to drink water, take their medication, or avoid the heat, but they are doing the best they can.

"The Mission has even been showing movies in the afternoon to lure street people indoors. Experts say the heat can compound the sedative effects of anti-depressant, anti-psychotic and anti-Parkinson's drugs taken for schizophrenia and other severe mental illness. And heat can compound the dehydrating effects of alcohol...Dr. Tighe said case managers and community workers try to prevent a downward spiral in which a schizophrenic or otherwise severely mentally ill person will stop taking medication because dehydration has caused side-effects such as nausea, weakness and confusion" (O'Neill, 2005).

Sometimes the homeless make the problem even worse by wearing clothing that is not suited for the extreme heat. Coats, long pants, and sweaters will only increase the chances of the homeless suffering from the heat and having it interfere with their medication.

The Salvation Army has even been handing out water bottles and bringing the homeless to shelters so that they will not become over-heated. Sunscreen, shoes and underwear are also supplied. The Mission has even been handing out "Freezies and popsicles" in the hopes that this will keep those in the streets cool. Those who are passed out in the sun are woken and asked to come inside or to get out of the sun. The potential negative effects of these current hot temperatures will hopefully be greatly diminished by the efforts of such groups as the Salvation Army and The Mission.

The source of this article was The Ottawa Citizen, written there by Juliet O'Neill.

The full article can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/eygo5

A great journal article on heat intolerance for those with schizophrenia taking antipsychotic medication can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/aslcl

Posted by christine at July 14, 2005 01:07 PM

More Information on Schizophrenia-related Events


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