Skip to main content

Mental Health Awareness Week is run by the Mental Health Foundation; this year, it takes place from 13 May – 19 May 2024.  The theme is Movement: Moving more for our mental health.

Research has shown that regular physical activity can make us happier and healthier. Our bodies release feel-good hormones when we’re active, which can reduce anxiety and stress and help us sleep better.​ By building movement into our working day, we can have a positive impact on productivity and focus.

How Does Mental Health Affect Physical Health?

Although the mind and body are often viewed as being separate, mental and physical health are actually closely related. Good mental health can positively affect your physical health. In return, poor mental health can negatively affect your physical health.

Effects of Mental Health on Physical Health

Your mental health plays a huge role in your general well-being. Being in a good mental state can keep you healthy and help prevent serious health conditions. A study found that positive psychological well-being can reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

On the other hand, poor mental health can lead to poor physical health or harmful behaviors.

Chronic diseases. Depression has been linked to many chronic illnesses. These illnesses include diabetes, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.

Schizophrenia has also been linked to a higher risk of heart and respiratory diseases.

Mental health conditions can also make dealing with a chronic illness more difficult. The mortality rate from cancer and heart disease is higher among people with depression or other mental health conditions.

‌Sleep Problems

People with mental health conditions are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea. Insomnia can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleep apnea leads to breathing problems, which can cause you to wake up frequently.

Around 50% to 80% of people with mental health conditions will also have sleeping problems. Only 10% to 18% of the general population experience sleeping problems.

While conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder may lead to sleep problems, sleep problems can also make existing mental health conditions worse.


People with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke than those who do not have mental health conditions. Among smokers, people with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke a greater number of cigarettes.

People with depression have lower levels of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine influences positive feelings in your brain. The nicotine in cigarettes triggers the production of the chemical dopamine, so smoking may be used as a way to relieve symptoms of depression.

However, since nicotine only offers temporary relief, you may feel a recurring need to smoke, which may lead to possible addiction.

If you want to quit smoking, and increase your dopamine levels, just get your body moving! Even standing up and stretching for a few minutes especially after spending hours at work on your laptop, can give your brain a little dopamine boost.

‌Access to Health Care 

People with mental health conditions are less likely to have access to adequate health care.

It may also be more difficult for people with mental health conditions to take care of their physical health When you have a mental health condition, it can be hard to seek care, take prescriptions regularly, or get enough exercise.

So the challenge this month is to get moving, 30 minutes of movement a day it could be a dog walk, a swim or 30 minutes of pottering around the garden.

As mental health professionals Sanitas Hub can provide you with professional training to support your colleagues in the workplace. We offer courses that teach people how to help those experiencing mental health problems at work.

If you do wish to book onto the Neurodiversity Awareness Course, you can book through my website, we run a course each month. Our next course is the 5th June.

About Sanitas Hub 

Booking a Mental Health Wellbeing Course with Sanitas Hub 

Mental Health Consultancy in the Workplace

Sanitas Hub Services

For further inquiries, company group training or mental health consultancy please do not hesitate to get in touch at