Why is it important to take care of both our physical and mental health?
Our general well-being incorporates mental health (mind) and physical health (body), resulting in a more holistic approach to disease prevention and health promotion. Chronic stress, which is a prolonged and excessive experience of stress, may contribute to:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease and Stroke
- Decreased Immune Defenses
- Stomach Problems
- Poorer Brain Functioning
- Unhealthy and Risky Behaviors Such As Substance Use
- Compulsions Such As Gambling
- Sexual Addictions
The effects of stress on the body can be seen in the body image below.
Other Mental Health Factors
An individual’s mental health can also be affected by their social determinants of health (SDOH) and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). SDOH and ACEs are interconnected factors that help predict an individual’s long-term mental and physical health. Addressing SDOH and ACEs is of high importance for Golden Valley Health Centers and the healthcare industry.
Social Determinants of Health (SDH)
The social determinants of health (SDH) are environmental and community factors that play role in everyone’s health outcomes. SDH is defined by the World Health Organization “as the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”
The SDH has an important influence on health inequities – the avoidable differences in health status seen within and between communities.
In poor and rich communities, health and illness follow a social gradient: the lower the socioeconomic position, the worse the health.
The following list provides examples of the social determinants of health that can influence health equity in positive and negative ways:
- Income and Social Protection
- Unemployment and Job Insecurity
- Working Life Conditions
- Food Insecurity
- Housing, Basic Amenities, And the Environment
- Early Childhood Development
- Social Inclusion and Non-Discrimination
- Structural Conflict
- Access to Affordable Health Services Of Decent Quality
Research shows that the social determinants can be more important than health care or lifestyle choices in influencing health. For example, numerous studies suggest that SDH accounts for between 30-55% of health outcomes. In addition, estimates show that the contribution of sectors outside of healthcare to population health outcomes exceeds the contribution from the health sector.
Addressing SDH is fundamental for improving health and reducing longstanding inequities in health, which requires action by all sectors and civil society.
Source: World Health Organization
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occurred in childhood between the ages of 0 and 17 (CDC). Traumatic events are divided into three categories: abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Within those categories, there are other subcategories of abuse (see chart).
There is an ACEs questionnaire for children and adults with ten questions. Studies have shown that the more ACEs a person has experienced before they turn 18 years old, the more the probability of experiencing:
- Poor Physical Health
- Psychological Health
- Suicide Attempts
- Substance Use
- Lower Educational Level
- Experiencing Or Perpetrating Violence
An ACEs questionnaire is administered in medical settings, schools, and other entities to provide referrals and trauma-informed care. The goal of administering the questionnaire is to identify, mitigate, and treat ACEs. Golden Valley Health Centers is currently exploring the rollout of ACEs in the future. To view the ACEs questionnaire for adults, teens, and children in English and Spanish, go to https://www.acesaware.org/learn-about-screening/screening-tools/.
County Crises Lines:
- Merced County BHRS
- Stanislaus County BHRH
- San Joaquin BHRS
(209) 468-8686 (Crisis)
(209) 468—9370 (Helpline)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Suicide Prevention Hotline
Beginning July 16, 2022, you may call or text 988