This article will discuss topics around mental health that may be difficult for some readers. If you have concerns over your mental health, please get in touch with your GP / primary care doctor. There are several organisations that can provide support and guidance such as the NHS and Mind.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, mental health issues are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide. There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to low mental health including loneliness, stress, or physical conditions. Monitoring our minds and bodies can bring about an understanding that can improve our mental and physical health.
With one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health issue each year, the message of this year's mental health awareness week is kindness. Engaging in acts of kindness or being kind to yourself brings many benefits such as:
- The reduction of stress and anxiety
- Physical benefits for the heart
- Support for the immune system
"Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease."
Covid-19 and Mental Health
With one third of the world’s population in some form of lockdown to protect our physical health, concerns are rising over the impact this may have on mental health. As well as the uncertainty surrounding the health and wellbeing of our loved ones, Covid-19 has also led to anxiety around job security as more than one in five British workers are on furlough.
The NHS ‘One You’ campaign explains that taking care of your mind is as important as taking care of your body during this pandemic. It's more important than ever to gain insights that could help manage your levels of stress.
Stress and Mental Health
Stress can be heightened by so many aspects of life such as illness, money, work, and relationships. In a study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation in 2018, 36% of adults who reported stress in the previous year explained that a contributing factor to this was either their own or a loved one’s long-term health condition. If these situations continue for long periods of time, it can cause our bodies to experience chronic stress.
"With chronic stress, those same lifesaving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems."
When the body is consistently experiencing chronic stress, it increases the risk of serious physical health problems e.g. heart disease, as well as mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
HeartKey® and Stress Monitoring
Monitoring stress provides a useful tool in understanding what your body is experiencing which can help manage mental health conditions as well as your overall health.
In January 2020, B-Secur’s CTO, Adrian Condon, recorded his physiological data for a 10-day period whilst at CES (one of the world’s largest global technology conferences).
"The wearable device was set up to record data across the course of ten days, a baseline, during the show and then a couple of days upon my return.
"The data was extracted from the device and ran through B-Secur’s HeartKey® algorithms to gain insight into my physiological stress, heart rate and HRV levels throughout an important company event."
"Stress is a natural response of the body to certain situations. We all experience stress and it is not necessarily a bad thing when it is controlled or limited, but the key is understanding our body’s response to it and why. If we do not manage our stress levels it can lead to concerning outcomes."
"The graph here shows my stress trend information.
"The data was how I expected it to be, I knew I would have heightened tension during our Vegas demo prep and then into the first day of CES when we started to showcase our technology and discuss opportunities with existing and new clients.
"With multiple meetings and demos of our technology occurring across the conference, my stress hit its peak at 91.
"I have every faith in the measurements I took across the time period – HeartKey has proven medical grade accuracy even in a wearable form factor. You can imagine how useful this data is managing personal wellness and health as well as new insightful information for your doctor.
"As the conference progressed with very positive demos and meetings, the bio-markers certainly reflected how I was feeling."