Which Factors Affect Mental Health in Your Patients?

Having an understanding of mental health is important personally and professionally speaking as good mental health is fundamental to the well-being of individuals. This is why poor mental health has been identified as one of the biggest causes of disability, impaired quality of life and reduced productivity. There is also a strong association between mental health conditions and people reporting multiple pain sites.

Not all physiotherapists realise that metal health is well within our scope of practice – at least in a sense that physical activity is one of the best management strategies for poor mental health and physio’s are the expert in this area. This has been a well held view since 2011 when the WCPT formally recognised mental health as a formal specialitiy with a recognised subgroup.

Unfortunately there has been a slow pace of integration of the speciality into main stream clinical practice. Hopefully with the addition of our latest mental health course on Physioplus, Physiopedia is doing its’ part in improving the visbility of the latest research and helping integrate this into clinical practice.

The new course, like our other MH courses has been created by Andrea Sturm, an autrian physiotherapist with a special interest in ethics and mental health.  The aim of the new course is to provide an understanding of the complex and multifaceted underlying causes and contributing factors of mental health disorders and how the clinician can use their own internal and external resources to promotes an individual’s health and well-being.

The course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy clinicians, students and assistants. Other interested professionals such as athletic trainers, occupational therapists, nurses or medical doctors interested in this subject are also invited to participate.

Factors Impacting Mental Health

It is crucial for healthcare workers to understand the effects of lifestyle factors and the adverse or positive experiences on individuals who face mild to severe mental health issues. Traumatic experiences, even if they took place in childhood, can continue to contribute to stress in adult life, with poor lifestyle options taken as a survival strategy or coping mechanism. These individuals can be at high risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease due to the side effects of medication, alcohol and smoking combined with a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise and diet are considered core elements of lifestyle modification and are essential to physical health. Another important factor is poor sleep quality as it can be a consequence of, or contributing factor to mental illness and can influence other lifestyle factors.

Find Out The Key Factors Which Affect Mental Health


Other Mental Health Courses on Physioplus

Foundations of Mental Health

Mental Health is every physiotherapist’s / physical therapist’s business. As a key component of the bio-psycho-socio model used to understand a patient’s individual circumstances, Mental Health concerns in physical therapy are not just confined to those patients who have psychiatric diagnoses.  As a healthcare professional with a long term personal relationship with their client, a physiotherapist is in a unique position to be able to identify and address this aspect of their patients well being. This is leading to the growing use of physiotherapy approaches in the treatment of patients even with severe mental health problems worldwide.

Foundations of Mental Health

Physical Activity as EBP in Mental Health

Physical activity (PA) and exercise are increasingly being recognised as efficacious components of treatment for various mental health disorders. There is now increasing evidence supporting the inclusion of PA programs as an adjunct to treatment for various conditions for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. These research results support the inclusion of clinical PA programs within mental health treatment, facilitated by dedicated clinicians (exercise physiologists/physiotherapists) and there are now many examples of successful integration of clinical PA programs within mental health treatment facilities.

Exercise as Medicine in Mental Health