As our understanding of mental health is still developing, there are still pockets of information we don’t know about the ramifications of having poor mental wellbeing. However, in recent years one thing that has become increasingly apparent is the link between mental and physical health. There is still a general misconception that mental and physical health work separately from each other, but in fact there is plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite. These two facets of our wellbeing are intertwined and if one of them is not healthy, it can have a massive effect on the other.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at the specifics of how your mental health can have an effect on your physical wellbeing. It is vital that both are taken care of, so gaining a better understanding of how they work is a good step in the right direction.
This is something that may seem surprising, but there is a clear link between mental health and chronic illness. It is understandable that it is common that when people are diagnosed with an illness such as cancer or diabetes, that this could cause someone to spiral into having mental health problems. However, what you may not be aware of is that your mental health can actually have a big hand in causing the illnesses in the first place.
Heart disease, asthma, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure are just some of the serious physical health implications that can occur from having poor mental health. This puts into perspective just how important looking after your mental wellbeing really is.
The Mental Health Foundation are calling for changes to be made to how the NHS treats mental health issues, which includes “gaining a deeper understanding of the link between mental wellbeing and cardiovascular diseases,” “regular physical health checks and accessible physical health care for people with severe mental illness,” and “mental health to become an integral part of public health agenda, nationally and locally, and for proper investment in public mental health.”
This is a big reason why it is important to seek help as soon as possible when you feel like you are mentally unwell. Much like with any physical injury or disease, getting seen by a doctor and receiving treatment early will mean you have the best chance of beating the illness and being able to go about your life without having to worry about it.
Day To Day
Aside from the major chronic illnesses that can be negatively affected, having poor mental health can make a massive difference to your everyday physical wellbeing. There is evidence to suggest that those who suffer from mental illnesses are more likely to obtain poor eating habits and are less likely to take part in regular physical activity.
Eating unhealthily combined with not getting enough exercise can lead to a number of health concerns, such as obesity and heart disease. It can be difficult for mental health sufferers to find the motivation to physically exert themselves and generally look after their own physical health. This could be caused by tiredness as a lack of sleep or sleep apnoea is another key factor of mental health entwining itself with physical welfare, with 50 to 80 per cent of mental health sufferers having problems when sleeping.
There is also evidence to suggest that people with poor mental health are more likely to take up smoking, and when compared with smokers without mental health issues, tend to smoke more frequently. This is in part due to the fact that cigarettes trigger the production of dopamine, the chemical that influences positive emotions in your brain. As dopamine can be lacking in those suffering with mental health, smoking appears as a temporary fix, putting aside the obvious negative ramifications that smoking has on their health.
In a similar vein, alcohol abuse is not uncommon amongst those with poor mental wellbeing. As alcohol can act as a sedative, it can temporarily mask feelings of depression and other mental health problems. This can develop into a cycle of someone drinking to prevent depressive thoughts in the short term, only for their eventual hangover to increase these thoughts to a higher level than before. Alcohol abuse can quickly spiral and affect someone’s work, relationships, financial situation and most other aspects of their lives. This is why it is very important to avoid makeshift fixes for mental health and a more permanent, professional approach should be taken.
What We Can Offer
At Flagship Partners, we have a wide variety of courses and services available, spanning a broad range of topics. We understand just how important it is to look after your mental and physical health, which is why we offer bespoke mental health at work courses, and health and safety consultancy services.
The training we have on offer focuses on gaining a greater understanding of mental health and how best to deal with your own difficulties as well as the difficulties of those around you. Workplaces should be safe spaces for all employees, which is why looking after the mental health of employees should be a top priority.
Contact Flagship Partners
If you would like to find out any more information regarding the services we provide and the availability of our courses, please feel free to contact us by filling out our online form or by calling 01733 396169.