New information on link between mental health, heart disease

ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton shares what to know about a new statement on mental health and heart disease from the American Heart Association.
3:14 | 01/26/21

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Transcript for New information on link between mental health, heart disease
this next segment. Going to turn to our health alert. The new study connecting mental and heart health saying what is good for your mind could be good for your body. Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton joins us with more. Break this down for us, Jen. Robin, here it is. This is a scientific statement from the American heart association published in their premiere journal "Circulation" and what it's doing really for the first time is connecting the dots between mind, body and heart so they're looking at mental health issues and heart disease and trying to take a big picture view on what they found was less healthy kind of mental issues, so things like depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, isolation and loneliness so common now during the pandemic and even pessimism and anger can be bad for your heart, bad for your body and then the good news, some of the healthier mental issues have some positive effects so people who are optimistic who have a sense of purpose, practice findfulness who are emotional vitality and psychological well-being overall, all good for your body and your heart. And the study recommends mental health screenings for people who possibly have some heart problems so what exactly does that involve? Well, absolutely so when they go to the cardiologist, cardiologists should not just be listening to their heart but they should be looking at them and listening to their words and their feelings so to see if they need kind of intervention from a mental health or mental wellness per tech tiff but also the primary care physicians, the health care providers that are seeing people before they have a diagnosis of heart disease need to be doing a checkup from the neck up so we need to ask how people are from a mental health I love how you say that, a checkup from the neck up. So what are some strategies? What are some strategies we can do to kind of help us in that regard. First of all of us can do this and we've been speak about it a lot during the pandemic. Mindfulness, meditation, very helpful in reducing anxiety and stress. Practicing journaling has been found by psychologists to be even as effective or in some cases more effective than talk therapy. But again for those people who are suffering, mental health professionals are there for exactly this reason and there is no shame in asking for help and talk therapy, psychotherapy, even in some cases medication all important. We need to take a holistic view of this and this is what the statement does. How do we get past -- we talk about other health conditions. Why is it so difficult to talk about mental health? It's such an important question. I think when we can't see something we take it less seriously. But we need to understand that mental health is not just the absence of something wrong. There are steps we can take to promote it and we need to get aggressive about that. Especially during this very continuing challenging time. All right. Jen, thank you. You bet.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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