As I mentioned in a previous post, the brain plays a most important role in our behavior. In fact, there is nothing else that even comes close to impacting the outcome of our lives as does our own brain. It is directly involved in everything that we think, say, and do.
Anyone who makes the effort to eat healthily and exercise on a regular basis knows that doing so isn't easy. But how much more difficult does this become when a person is struggling with depression? Or an anxiety disorder? Or Bipolar Disorder? Or Schizophrenia? Depending on the mental health issue and its severity, choosing to engage in a healthy lifestyle becomes, at best, even more difficult than it already is, and at worst, practically impossible. Research has found the link between our mental health and our physical health to be very real and very significant.
So why is it that Mental Health continues to be such a widely overlooked and ignored aspect of our healthcare system? Why do we spend only 3% of total US healthcare dollars on what in reality is the most important aspect of our overall health? We spend more money on treating issues with our digestive system than we do on mental health treatment in our nation. There is something very wrong about that, since the decisions we make on a daily basis, in terms of what we eat and what we do, impact our health far more significantly than do any sort of genetic or environmental factors.
A primary reason for this disparity in spending is our continued reluctance to seek mental health treatment. While the stigma surrounding mental health has decreased significantly over the years, it remains a barrier for many of us. If you are someone who is struggling with a mental or emotional health concern, please know you are not alone. We must not hesitate to seek mental health treatment at any point should we need to, and we must strongly encourage others to do the same. We must talk about it, and continuously emphasize and prioritize our mental health.
Because our health and the health of our Nation depends on it.