Generally speaking, mental health refers to an individual’s emotional well-being. The definition is broad and includes social well-being as well. Mental health influences an individual’s behavior, perception, and cognition. It also determines how an individual handles stress and how he or she handles interpersonal relationships. In recent years, the emphasis on mental health has shifted from disorder to well-being. Currently, there is much research on the effects of psychological health on cardiovascular disease (CVD). This research is important because it links psychological health to the biological processes involved in CVD.
Psychological health is a complex subject, and understanding it is not easy. To better understand it, it is important to think about it more explicitly. The World Health Organization defines psychological health as “the state of an individual’s mental well-being and enjoyment of life.” There are many different factors that affect psychological health. Several studies have found that a negative Psychological Health Index score is associated with an increased risk of physical health complaints.
Psychological health is also affected by life’s complexities and extraordinary setbacks. People may experience stress due to caring for a relative or long work hours. These types of challenges can overwhelm a person’s coping capabilities. In addition, many people use alcohol to numb their feelings. Other people use medications to treat mental illnesses. Psychotherapists can assist a person to better cope with diagnosed conditions and help him or her through life’s changes. These professionals use different forms of talk therapy to help clients better manage the condition.
Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are two main groups of professionals in this field. They support individuals who are dealing with a mental illness by prescribing medication. They also provide counseling. Psychotherapists often have a clinical background, but many also have a formal research education. They are trained to help people through life’s changes and support them through stressful situations.
Mental health is also influenced by the sociopolitical system in which people live. In the United States, historically held power has caused the creation of a sociopolitical system that can negatively affect the mental health of individuals. People who live in disadvantaged communities are often given a heavy burden to address mental health issues. In addition, people can become more psychologically healthy if they experience positive events. The positive mood is defined as having emotional satisfaction, peace, and positive emotional ties. Having a positive mood includes being comfortable in one’s own skin, accepting others’ needs, and recognizing underlying causes of stress.
Positive psychological attributes include eudaimonic well-being, life satisfaction, and gratitude. In addition, these attributes are associated with a lower risk of mortality.
Negative psychological attributes include depression, anxiety, and stress. These factors may increase an individual’s risk of CVD, as well. Some studies have found that women are at higher risk for common mental disorders than men. However, many studies have used objective measures of CVD and adjusted for a wide range of potential confounders.
A variety of studies have used carefully adjudicated events and large administrative databases to better understand the relationship between psychological health and CVD. The World Health Organization published a summary report on this topic.