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Mental and physical health 

Mental and physical health
Chapter:
Mental and physical health
Author(s):

Mike McHugh

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198792994.003.0021
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date: 19 October 2020

Until recently the biomedical model dominated thinking about both physical health and mental health in Western society. It is now more useful to frame health as an integrated totality—one that includes physiological functioning, psychological and spiritual processes, and behaviour. This chapter explores this emerging agenda and focuses on well-being and prevention, particularly where well-being and prevention impact on both physical and mental illness. Evidence tells us that by strengthening mental health and well-being we not only reduce the risk of mental illness, but we also enhance physical health and population health more widely. Equally, improving physical health has a significantly positive influence on population mental health. We can increasingly exploit our understanding of these interconnections and release their potential to tackle some of the pressing health and well-being challenges we face. We have an opportunity to meaningfully draw physical and mental health together as a mutually dependent, integrated whole.

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