Repressed Facts about Depression and Physical Health

Noel Blanco

In Touch Volunteer

In Touch Volunteers attended Bridging Mental Health: The Pursuit of Well-being webinar series by Makati Medical Center, last October 2022. From these webinars, we came to learn many key mental health facts and information. Noel Blanco shares his takeaways here.

In our modern world, we learn many words that describe our life especially words that tell how and why we feel during particular situations. Yet, among the majority of the Filipinos, depression seems to be a jargon that revolve only amongst mental health specialists. There also seems to be a pre-conceived notion of what depression really is. It can be demotivating for an individual who is suffering from this condition if we will not make an effort to be aware of how and why depression occur.

Contrary to popular belief, depression is not just an emotion that go away with time. It can happen in various situations in our life and can be directly linked to our physical health. As a renowned physician once said, “there is no physical without mental health”.

Photo by Darwis Alwan
In recent studies, it shows that depression in particular can affect the physical health of a person. One study revealed that those who are suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension are more prone to develop symptoms which can eventually lead to depression. It can co-occur in existing chronic disease making it difficult for those experiencing the situation to achieve optimal health. In co-occurence, it mean that chronic disease is the main culprit but rather a situation where depression suddenly occurs. It can also happen independently at any stage of the chronic disease experienced by the person.

Depression involves a multidisciplinary approach and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It will take a collaborative effort of health care providers, family members and friends of the individual to directly improve the symptoms brought about by the depression. This can be challenging to those with family members who are clinically diagnosed with depression.

Yet, there is still light on the end of the tunnel. It is important for the family members of individuals dealing with depression to encourage the person to build resilience as one of the strategies to minimize the impact of depression.

There should be a genuine effort of building connection in providing comfort to those people with depression. It is a big help that they realize that there is someone who is willing to listen to their struggles in facing depression. Allow the person to discover themselves and explore their individuality to improve their self-esteem. For the family members, they should be accepting to manage the different changes experienced by the individual with depression. They need to put things in right perspective and see depression as a healing journey for the person rather than a problem to be solved. Appreciation to one’s journey is essential and strengthen the morale of the person with depression.

​Another thing to look for is to help the person to develop healthy lifestyle habits. It is shown in the previous studies that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has a positive impact to overall mental health of an individual. Regular physical exercise shown to alleviate the depressive symptoms. The previously mentioned strategies are just the tip of an iceberg to manage depression.
Depression may be daunting at first but with the positive outlook of dealing can go a long way. More studies need to be done to provide clarity on ways to really help those who are diagnosed with depression. With In-Touch, we are committed to create awareness about different mental health topics like depression. For more information on how you can be involved, you visit our website provided below.

Always remember there’s no physical health without mental health.
Photo by The Lazy Art Gallery

You are what You eat
Are you fond of avidly eating potato chips or binging in too much sweets? If the answer is yes, it increases the likelihood of you developing mental health issues. There’s a saying you are what you eat. Cliché as it may sounds, recent studies show that we eat can really affect the way we feel. It is in the sugar and fats that define our emotion.

A munch on your favorite chips will not affect much. But when eating foods high in fats and sugar become habit-forming, it can deter our mental health in the long run.  It can be an additional factor in affecting our thinking patterns.

Oftentimes, we enjoy potato chips at night sipping our favorite milktea while watching our favorite Netflix shows. We may cancel our exercise routine in exchange to this. It is a domino effect that we tend to forget which can create negative impact both in our physical and mental health.
We may brush off the fact that fats are just the normal part of our daily diet. recent studies revealed how high fat diets can cause inflammation to our vital organs. In the long-term, it showed to increase the risk of developing non-communicable ailment like cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and osteoporosis.

What will be the effect on our mental health? It is linked to have cause depressive symptoms who developed non-communicable disease. Depressive symptoms does not mean that you are diagnosed with depression. It’s just a manifestation of symptoms which can lead to depression if left unaddressed.

Photo by Kamaji Ogino

It’s the reason why we need to really look into our lifestyle if we want to avoid mental health repercussions brought by careless decision. We need to modify the food we eat on a daily basis. It’s basic to our knowledge that fruits, legumes, nuts and vegetables promote a healthy  body. We also need to commit ourselves to regular physical exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Another study showed that positive social connection can improve our well-being and provide long-term benefits to our physical health. It is said that without positive connection with others, the physical effects are similar to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes.

It is a commitment to prioritize lifestyle modification and it can be challenging at times. But with the advancement of evidence-based studies, a new field called lifestyle medicine has been created. It uses lifestyle therapeutic intervention to prevent, arrest and often reverse chronic conditions.
It is fascinating to know that there is a field dedicated to making us totally committed to healthy lifestyle.

Here at In Touch, our counselors will help you in developing materials that will improve your lifestyle. We also have expert resource speakers on lifestyle medicine, should you wish to impart mental health awareness to your organization, company or community.

​If  you want to know more, feel free to email us at intouch@in-touch.org.

About the Author

Noel “Noe” Blanco started his mental awareness journey during the pandemic at In Touch Community Services, Inc. He is a licensed professional teacher. He loves cooking and writing poetry. He’s currently taking up a culinary medicine course at Philippine College of Lifestyle Medicine.

He was also chosen by Limitless Labs to be a Master Trainer for the Digital Literacy Program of ASEAN Foundation and Google.org. One of his goals in life is to be a licensed counseling psychologist. He is a mental health advocate and aims to initiate research on the utilization of expressive arts in counseling.

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Repressed Facts about Depression and Physical Health

In Touch Volunteers attended Bridging Mental Health: The Pursuit of Well-being webinar series by Makati Medical Center, last October 2022. From these webinars, we came to learn many key mental health facts and information.
Noel Blanco shares his takeaways here.

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