Positive mind and social connection key to recovering from cardiovascular disease

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of over 4 million people in Australia living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) is crucial to them avoiding further heart attacks or strokes.

That’s the message this World Heart Day (Friday, September 29) from the Heart Foundation as it promotes its free online peer support community – MyHeart MyLife – for people living with cardiovascular disease.

Healthcare Programs Manager Natalie Raffoul said research showed that patients can feel isolated after a heart disease diagnosis or heart event. “In our own research, most patients expressed a strong desire to feel a sense of belonging to a community that understood their unique journeys,” Ms Raffoul said.

The link between cardiovascular disease and mental health

Ms Raffoul said there was a two-way relationship between mental health and cardiovascular disease.

“Firstly, in people who do not already have cardiovascular disease, we know that poor mental health can increase their chances of a heart attack,” she said.

“On the other hand, research shows that people living with cardiovascular disease are more likely to develop anxiety and depression as they adjust to a series of sudden changes to their health.

“This mental health burden can increase their chances of a second heart event, and that’s why supporting good mental health and wellbeing is such an important part of the recovery process, our new MyHeart MyLife support group can help people on that journey.”

People with a CVD diagnosis and their carers are encouraged to join the MyHeart MyLife peer support group: facebook.com/groups/myheartmylifecommunity.

Source: Heart Foundation

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