How a Positive Mental Health Leads to Positive Physical Health

Katherine Portillo, Photographer

The stigma around mental health is still very apparent even in the year 2021, this is very harming to today’s youth. Mental health is a very real issue that needs to be made a priority to everyone. Keeping a good and positive mental health will reflect in your physical being also striving. With saying this, a deteriorating mental health can lead to bad physical health. 


Before the new year, the CDC put out a few static charts showing the mental health within teens and children. The results are a bit appalling with how young a mental related illness can begin at. The statistics of ADHD show that 4% of children (age 2-17 years) have received an ADHD diagnosis within the last year. As well as this, 7.1% of children (ages 3-17 years) have diagnosed anxiety related disorders. Lastly, 3.2% of children (ages 3-17 years) have been diagnosed with depression.


Depression has seen a rise in cases since the beginning of quarantine. This may be due to not being able to see others outside your house, lack of going outside, or lack of physical activity overall. Physical activity is something needed to be able to maintain a healthy outlook and a happy mental health. Activities like jogging, working out, daily walks can help increase mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins, working as a mood stabilizer, helping with energy levels as well as assisting your emotions.


The way depression works in the brain is that your mind has a chemical imbalance. According to the Harvard Medical School, the imbalance is not just black and white, there is no exact chemical that causes depression. According to the article “many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells”. This means it is a mixture of a few different chemicals contributing to depression. Physical activity releases endorphins work as a mood stabilizer, helping with energy levels as well as assisting your emotions.


Another way mental illness heavily affects the physical being is eating related disorders. An eating disorder is defined as, “any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.” The different types of eating disorders include but are not limited to: bulimia (a way of purging after a meal), anorexia (a way of not eating to lose weight), binge-eating disorder (a way of eating a lot more than an average meal could hold or not eating enough), and pica (a way of being addicted to eating non-edible items).


As well as damaging your sense of hunger, EDs also have life long effects. Hair loss, infertility, and bone loss are just a few side effects. Once you have an eating disorder, you will always have one, it is not a phase. After being able to overcome an ED, you have to learn how to maintain it for the rest of your life. 


Self harm is another way your physical being is affected by mental illness. Self harm is the action of purposely harming yourself. Some forms of self harm include cutting / burning skin, misusing drugs and alcohol, and punching one’s self. Self harm is a form of coping when the patient feels they have no other way of expressing their emotions.


Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. By taking care of your brain you will also be assisting the rest of your body. A healthy piece of mind will equate into a healthy and happy body.