May 20, 2020
Welcome to the start of mental health week! Here at LYFE we have a team of doctors and doctors-in-training to bring you new content every single day so keep your eyes peeled and your brains fresh to absorb the latest information about psychological health.
We will try to not use the words “mental” and “health” together too much due to the overwhelming stigma that still exists around them. For me, this exists because we focus far too much on “mental health awareness” and then “treatment” of mental health problems. There is nothing bridging that gap. We often hear stories of people struggling with their psychological health. Raising awareness is important, but we need to do more. We need a solution. Enter in, preventative lifestyle medicine.
Let’s first consider our physical health. When we consider physical health we don’t just focus on the ‘end point’ with disease, but also the factors and actions involved in the process. We consider what we CAN do to prevent physical decline, rather than simply just treating those with medical conditions.
We are empowered with the knowledge to MAINTAIN our health. We view health on a spectrum between ‘fully well’ and ‘unwell’ and generally at any point in our lives, we are somewhere in between on that scale. We also appreciate that our position on that scale is dynamic and are encouraged to take CONTROL of our health. For physical health conditions, Public Health England educates us about the importance of controlled red meat and processed meat consumption based on the evidence-base for factors associated with colorectal cancer. We are encouraged to exercise regularly based on research related to coronary heart disease. As a society, we recognise that what we do now in our day-to-day lives is intwined with our health.
Similarly, we need to start educating the public about psychological health and what each individual person can do to look after their own psychological processes. The stories exist alongside the call for individual action as a means of inspiration and to normalise our experiences. Preventative interventions have better outcomes for patients, but they also make the whole sector far more approachable for everyone - this will start to reduce the stigma which exists so prevalently throughout society.
We must find that perfect balance between mental health awareness, preventative strategies and the treatment interventions which exist. This is what we are aiming to kick off this week at LYFE and indeed in the future.
George Engel, an American Psychologist and psychiatrist released a paper describing something called the BioPsychoSocial model. This, as the name suggests, highlighted health to include three key domains: biological health, psychological health and social health. The model provides a fantastic evidence base and a list of presuppositions to concur further health models from. It doesn’t however make much sense to people who aren’t constantly familiarising themselves with the literature. We therefore want to make this knowledge more public and empower you to easily take control of your health!
Our teachings at LYFE stem from this research which demonstrates a remarkable ubiquity across the medical profession. We have delved further into this research and have, based on previous work, developed what we call “Core Life Elements”, aka CLEs. There are 8 of these, and they embody the BioPsychoSocial model, but translate this confusing model into eight, easy to understand areas. When we talk about topics, we will try to relate back to these 8 Core Life Elements so that you can covert your new knowledge into actionable outcomes.
It is really interesting to view mental health, or rather, psychological health in this new way. In order to optimise your psychological health, you must focus on your “complete health”. The reality is that, to optimise our psychological health, we must focus on “complete health” as suggested by the medical literature and research in the BioPsychoSocial model. We are making this much more accessible for you to grasp through the introduction of the Core Life Elements. We hope this week you continue to engage with our content and absorb a wealth of knowledge that is largely unknown in the nation.
Please enjoy and embark on this journey with us as we uncover truths and present to you actual, medically proven information.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow.