The Importance of Mental Health By Dr. Anjali Rege
There is more to health than being physically fit and free of serious illness. Mental health is an integral part of leading a productive life. This includes positive emotions and moods, in addition to the absence of depression and anxiety. According to the American Psychiatric Association, seniors are at a greater risk of developing certain mental health issues than younger individuals. It is important to discuss your mental well-being with your primary care provider, who can help you develop an appropriate treatment plan.
This is an opportune time to discuss the impact of mental illness on the senior population. Unfortunately, many seniors fail to recognize the symptoms of mental illness or believe that depression is a natural part of the aging process. Depression is the most common mental illness among individuals 65 and older, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer can cause depression, and if left untreated, depression can delay recovery and contribute to a variety of other issues.
At HealthCare Partners Nevada, we encourage our patients to be proactive in taking control of their health. A balanced diet and exercise are important building blocks for both mental and physical health. Beyond diet and exercise, seniors should increase their focus on social relationships, resilience, positive emotions and independence.
Although many people do not like discussing feelings of sadness or grief, your health care provider's clinic is a safe place to express these feelings. Through an open conversation, your provider can help determine the best treatment and, in turn, better treat physical health issues.