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What can affect mental health?

Ruth White, MPH
Social Work

Mental health can be impacted by biological and environmental factors. Mental well-being can be promoted by our diet and some micronutrients such as Vitamin D, Omega 3's and Vitamin Bs have been found to improve mood. Alcohol and caffeine also affect mood, in some ways positive and in other ways negative. Eating a diet full of multi-colored fruits and vegetables can promote mental health and regular physical activity improves mood and overall mental well-being.

Probably the most negative impact on well-being is stress which is environmental and can affect our biology. Stress creates imbalances in cortisol and adrenalin that cause changes in our brain functioning. Other factors that influence mental health include the quality of our social support so that having health relationships with a core group of people on whom you can depend will improve mental health.

Biological impacts on mental health include neurochemical agents that can sometimes cause imbalances in mental health functioning that may require medication and psychotherapy.

Mental health can be affected by events in your life. Stress is a very common factor affecting mental health. When you're under stress from worries about work, a divorce, or money problems, for instance, you may feel very emotional, irritable, anxious, or depressed. Bereavement is another common factor affecting mental health. Normal grief can sometimes turn into depression. Serious illness, such as cancer, can also make people feel depressed. To a degree, these feelings are normal and people often get over them. Sometimes, however, the feelings are so strong or last for so long that your mental health is badly affected.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.