Health Hint! – Intersection of Mental and Physical Health: Depression/Anxiety as a result of Physical Ailments

Nov 3, 2021

To begin with, Federated Health Charities’ mission is to improve the health and quality of life of all Ontarians by supporting 21 different health charities providing critical services to those experiencing, or affected by, illness.  Actually, we believe education and prevention are key parts of supporting the health of our communities. Therefore, our weekly Health Hint series strives to provide tangible and easy to implement hints and tips on how to maintain your health, prevent disease, and enjoy increased quality of life.

Then, we invite you to check out our latest Health Hint on the intersections between physical and mental health. We hope you find it helpful. If you would like to join our efforts to support the health of Ontario please consider a donation to Federated Health Charities. 

The Intersection of Physical Health and Mental Health

First of all, did you know that some mental illnesses are linked with physical ailments? Indeed, The Mental Health Foundation points out that 1 in 3 people suffering from a long-term physical illness are diagnosed with a mental illness. Poor maintenance of physical health can negatively affect one’s mental health, and vice versa. For example, one can suffer from alcohol abuse (poor physical health) and develop a mental illness (such as depression) alongside this issue.

Sometimes, it can be the other way around in such that one’s mental health condition results in poor physical health. Let’s explore how the intersection of physical disabilities and mental illness can affect one’s overall health.

Physical Health

Physical health pertains to the overall well-being of our body. Firstly, exercise, proper nutrition, and an adequate amount of sleep contribute to a healthy, maintained body. A physical disability is a condition, temporary or permanent, that limits the physical capabilities, abilities, and functions of a person.

“Over 1 billion people are estimated to live with some form of disability. This corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population, with up to 190 million (3.8%) people aged 15 years and older having significant difficulties in functioning, often requiring healthcare services.” (WHO)

Indeed, these statistics go to show that physical health and wellbeing is an important topic that applies to a significant percentage of our population. However, since we know that physical and mental illness can be interrelated, it begs the question what percentage of these people are suffering with their mental health as well.

Mental and Physical Health solutions

Mental Illnesses as an Effect of Physical Disabilities

Nevertheless, where do mental illnesses come in? A physical illness such as heart disease can show mental health related symptoms such as distress, anxiety, or even depression.

Certainly Mental illnesses can form post treatment of a physical disability. In fact,o ne example of this is cardiovascular disease. For instance, centers for Disease Control and Protection states that depression, anxiety, and PTSD can develop after a cardiac event (such as a stroke or heart attack).

According to, ICU patients are reported to have mental health affects pre, during, and post ICU experience. Of this population,

  • 30% of survivors suffer from Depression
  • Up to approximately 70% of survivors suffer from Anxiety
  • 10-15% of survivors suffer from PTSD

In addition, during the Covid-19 pandemic, there are many ICU survivors who not only have to focus on restoring their physical health, but their mental health as well. Therefore, this goes to show the overall impact of a physical illness and the trauma that can go along with it, leading to mental health concerns as well.

Next Steps

In summary, the intersection of physical and mental health plays a significant role in a vast majority of the population. Fortunately, there are resources that can help you, or someone you know, with what they are going through.

Mental Health support – Ontario

Covid-19 Mental Health resources – Toronto

ConnexOntario – Provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness or gambling by connecting them with services in their area. Actually, we are funded by the Government of Ontario.

WHO – Mental Well-being: Resources for the public

CMHA – Founded in 1952, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to making mental health possible for all.

We hope you liked our latest Health Hint!
Written by Shiyami Selvapavan



“Disability and Health.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization,

“Heart Disease and Mental Health Disorders.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 May 2020,

“What Is Health?: Defining and Preserving Good Health.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International,

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