According to Anne-Marie, we need to attempt to affect cultural change on a macro level. “People are quick to talk about how they care for their physical health,” she observes. “In any workplace or friendship group people boast about how many kilometres they run a week, the particular diet they’re on, or what they’re doing in the gym.”
The problem is that there isn’t necessarily an equivalent pride when it comes to caring for our mental health. “People don’t brag about seeing a psychologist or a therapist. There’s a disconnection between what we call physical and mental health.”
This distinction can be, as Anne-Marie points out, traced back to René Descartes’ 17th-century theory of mind-body dualism. But this philosophical position can lead us to overlook the fact that health is holistic.
“We have one body, and the brain is an organ that’s part of the entire system,” Anne-Marie says. In fact, some mental illnesses – such as schizophrenia – are linked with poor physical health outcomes, as well. While, conversely, good physical fitness is considered a protective factor when it comes to the development of depression.