Risks Factors for Poor Mental Health Wellness

There are factors that can place an individual at risk for poor mental health. Individuals that utilize negative coping skills are less able to deal with stress. Use of negative coping skills can threaten an individual's mental and physical health. It is important to maintain both good psychological well being and physical health because the two are so closely interlinked.

Some Risk Factors of Poor Mental Health Wellness:

  • Poor physical health
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor socio-economic status
  • Poor diet
  • Experiencing trauma
  • High amounts of stress (excess stress can lead to cardiac problems)
  • Smoking
  • Limited or no access to healthcare or mental health treatment
  • Negative coping skills which can include:
  • ~ Using drugs, including stimulants and sedatives
    ~ Excessive alcohol use
    ~ Denial
    ~ Self-mutilation
    ~ Ignoring or denying feelings
    ~ Avoidance of problems
    ~ Excessive working

Poor Mental Health Wellness and Cancer

In his new book, Anticancer: A New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, points out the effect that poor mental health has on developing cancer. Our immune system, which works to prevent cancer and reduce tumors, is maintained by mental and physical wellness. Dr. Servan-Schreiber, states that a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen revealed that only about 15% of cancer risk is attributed to genetic factors; therefore, 85% of cancer risk is related to how we treat our bodies and our minds.

Daily exercise is a vital factor in maintaining immune function. For example, according to Dr. Servan-Schreiber, even a quick 30 minute walk reduces the change of relaps in patients who have had breast cancer. Stress can weaken immune response and cause inflammation making you more susceptible to getting cancer. By responding to stress in a healthy way, stress hormones which your body produces are reduced. To reduce stress, Dr. Servan-Schreiber recommends practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation.

Stress and Cardiovascular Disease

Accoring to the American Institute of Stress, numerous studies have linked stress to cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease occurs more commonly in people with chronic stress. In 1959, Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman conducted a study which revealed that certain behavioral patterns were associated with high blood cholesterol levels, shorter clotting times, and coronary artery disease. Paul J. Rosch, MD, FACP, classified these behavioral patterns as Type A Coronary Prone Behavior.

Type A Behaviors can include:

  • Concern with quantity and not quality of work
  • Excessive multitasking
  • Competitiveness
  • Increased muscle activity
  • Overt aggression
  • Lack of rest
  • Poor social environment

Individuals who engage in such behaviors increase their risk for heart disease because of the effects of chronic adrenaline secretion on their cardiovascular system.