The Connection Between Mental and Physical Health
It is important to define what constitutes “health” in our day and age. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is, “a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and disease.” A myriad of other definitions have also been used over time with varying contexts. What is health for one person may not be good for another. Achieving optimal health is a personal goal that each and every individual must work towards on a daily basis.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines health as, “the condition of being fit and healthy.” This is an important definition because it takes into account the physical, mental, and emotional wellness needed to cope with life’s challenges. One can undergo many treatments and undergo health examinations to obtain a definitive diagnosis of what constitutes “wellness”. Some of these tests include the MIDS test, the PSA test, CT scan, X-ray, bone density test, and the HIV test. When these tests result in the accurate diagnosis of a medical condition, treatment begins. A health policy should reflect the care a person requires in order to achieve optimum health.
The definition also includes the four basic components of health which are: physical capacity, mental capacity, emotional capacity, and physiological capacity. Each of these components can be strengthened through a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and appropriate and consistent health care. Physical capacity refers to a person’s ability to move, think, and perform physical tasks. Mental capacity deals with the ability to think and reason properly and effectively. Emotional capacity refers to the person’s ability to feel and provide satisfaction for their life’s experiences.
The definition of “overall health” encompasses all of the four components of health. This is an inclusive statement as it typically includes all aspects of the four basic aspects. It includes: healthy body mass, healthy brain, strong lungs, strong heart, and strong immune system. The absence of any component does not negate the existence of the other elements.
Public health is an important concern for all Americans. Proper nutrition and exercise are just two of the many factors that contribute to a healthy life. There are many health promotion activities that each individual can participate in to promote good health. Healthy choices in food and activity choices can prevent a variety of diseases and health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Participating in a healthy lifestyle has been shown to greatly reduce the risks of suffering from these diseases or conditions.
As the population ages the number of people suffering from a variety of conditions will continue to rise. For this reason, mental health professionals are essential in ensuring that everyone has access to adequate and appropriate mental health services. These professionals ensure that individuals remain mentally and physically healthy by providing treatment and counseling when necessary. In addition to their work with patients, they also work with families and with schools to promote physical well-being through a program known as Healthy Body, Healthy Mind. This program educates individuals and families about physical health, nutrition, and fitness and prevents health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis from developing in the population over time.