Study shows mental health can effect physical health

Depression and other mental illnesses are extremely common among the young adult population, many being college students. According to Healthline, 44 percent of college students report having symptoms of depression.

Mental health is equally as important as physical health and should be taken just as seriously. Depression is an illness that affects many people, and is now said to lead to heart disease. In a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers found that depression is just as much of a threat to your heart as high cholesterol and obesity are.

According to the study, depression accounted for 15 percent of cardiovascular deaths, which is at the same level as high cholesterol. Depression was shown to pose a higher risk for heart disease than obesity and diabetes, which came in at 10 percent.

Many people are unaware about the serious effects that mental health illnesses can present. Frequently, depression and other mental health problems are taken with less severity than physical illnesses.

Other health issues can come along with depression as well. Those who are depressed have a higher chance of making poor health decisions, such as a bad diet and lack of exercise, according to the American Heart Association. Poor health decisions frequently lead to obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. All of these factors together can contribute to a unhealthy heart.

It has also been shown to be reversed. Not only does depression lead to heart disease, but diagnosis of heart problems can also lead to depression. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, people with no history of depression can become depressed after a heart attack or after developing heart disease. Dr. Roy Ziegelstein, executive vice chairman of the Department of Medicine, stated, “What we can say with certainty is that depression and heart disease often occur together.”

For a more physiological side, according to the American Heart Association, depression can cause higher levels of cortisol, which is a hormone related to stress. Higher levels of cortisol have been shown to negatively impact the cardiovascular system.

It has been shown that mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand, so both should be cared for with equal importance.

Depression can be especially hard on college students. With a full schedule of classes, assignments and exams, and possibly a job, students that suffer from mental illnesses may struggle with the pressure to complete everything.

Teachers need to be cautious and understanding when it comes to students admitting they have depression or another mental health illness. Sometimes students need to focus on themselves, and their health and sanity, and could use some extra time on an assignment. In cases like these, students’ mental health needs to come first.

Having understanding and empathetic professors can make many students with mental health illnesses feel relieved and less stressed out.

With professors having a sense of sincerity when it comes to college students’ mental health, students can succeed at a greater rate and take care of themselves at the same time.
Allowing students to be aware of their mental health and relieved of stress, the subsequent problems that come along with mental health illnesses can be prevented.