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Physical Health vs. Mental Health: Is One More Important?

Physical Health vs. Mental Health: Is One More Important?

On 21 Nov 2014, in mental health

by Karen Vaughn, MEd, LPC, consultant

Did you know that taking care of your mental/emotional health is just as important to a long healthy life as taking care of your physical health?

Did you know that it is just as important for the doctor to do a mental status exam as it is to do a physical status exam?

Just like physical health, mental health can effect motivation, energy level and other daily functioning tasks.

What Is Mental/Emotional Health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It can include the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Mental health and physical health are very closely connected. Mental health plays a major role in your ability to maintain good physical health. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, affect your ability to participate in healthy behaviors. This can result in problems with physical health, such as chronic diseases, and can decrease a person’s ability to participate in treatment and recovery.

Issues with mental health can have many different symptoms, just like issues with physical health. Questions can be asked and tests can be done to help assess mental health, the same as with physical health.

For physical problems, most people go to the doctor and get a check-up. They have their blood pressure, temperature and weight measured. They have blood drawn to check for issues with cholesterol, blood sugars, thyroid, iron levels, electrolytes and other measures.

However, most people don’t go to a mental health professional for a mental health exam. In many cases, people only seek out a mental health professional after a crisis has occurred.

Are you one of those people? And if you are, why take care of one part of your body and not the other?

Some simple steps to reduce risk of physical illness:
Eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, get routine check-ups and tests, incorporate regular exercise into your schedule.

Some simple steps to reduce risk of mental illness:
Eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, get routine check-ups and tests, incorporate regular exercise into your schedule.

These two lists may look the same, but mental tests and exercise can be different from physical tests and exercise. I challenge you to take care of your mental health by making an appointment with a mental health professional for your annual check-up. You can do so by calling BJC EAP. We can assist you with making sure you are taking care of your mental health.

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