Lifestyle and Holistic factors affecting Mental Health

          It is well known that it is quite difficult to treat diabetes without eliminating a high carbohydrate diet. It is also accepted that exercise improves blood pressure and heart disease. However, when it comes to mental health , the medical community has not been as verbal about the influences of lifestyle and holistic measures. Pharmaceuticals has become the mainstay treatment for mood disorders, minimizing the effects of diet, physical activity and  environmental factors on mental health.

       On the other end of the spectrum are " happiness books " and holistic  providers who do provide alternatives treatments that focus on clients behaviors with recommendations such as meditation and  practicing gratitude. However, the effect of the environment is still excluded. Often for these providers or authors they cant conceive, that certain communities (and therefore individuals ) live in constant trauma or stress, may not have the same food access , maybe surrounded by blight and abandonment or maybe socially isolated. Therefore the influences of these issues on mental health are never considered.

       Too often I see clients and patients who have been on multiple psychotropic medications, and received numerous counseling sessions, yet they continue to struggle with their symptoms.
I am a firm believer that without addressing the following factors , it can be virtually impossible to improve mental and emotional health especially among minority communities.

  1. Spaces ad Social Support
  2.  Diet and Nutrition
  3.  Entertainment/Audio/Visual
  4.  Exposure to Natural Environment  /Light
  5. Activities
  6.  Exercise

At Health Empowerment for African Americans and Latinos, when we see clients with depression and anxiety,  it is these specific factors we address , while we encourage traditional counseling and cognitive behavior therapy

Dr Isable


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