As a Christian Fitness Ministry, we have our own Foundation called Iron Eagles, which is a Veteran Wellness Program. We provide a holistic wellness program for veterans so they can experience a healthier transition to civilian life. Weeks back we looked at some general facts on Veterans and their health. Today, we are focusing in on the:

Connection between Physical Health and Mental Health

Veteran Wellness Program, Iron Eagles, the words physical and mental written in white on a chalkboard with a hand holding a triangle in between the two words


Mental and physical health is fundamentally linked. There are multiple associations between mental health and chronic physical conditions that significantly impact people’s quality of life, demands on health care and other publicly funded services, and generate consequences to society.


Nowhere is the relationship between mental and physical health more evident than in the area of chronic conditions. The associations between mental and physical health are:

  1. Poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical conditions.

  2. People with serious mental health conditions are at high risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions.

  3. People with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing poor mental health.

The social determinants of health impact both chronic physical conditions and mental health. Key aspects of prevention include increasing physical activity, access to nutritious foods, ensuring adequate income and fostering social inclusion and social support. This creates opportunities to enhance protective factors and reduce risk factors related to aspects of mental and physical health.


People with any chronic physical disease tend to feel more psychological distress than do healthy people. Poor physical health brings an increased risk of depression, as do the social and relationship problems that are very common among chronically ill patients.

Veteran Wellness Program, Iron Eagles, an orange diagram of percentages and statistics on the connection between mental and physical health

A 2009 study of patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease found that 22 percent of the participants had at least mild depression, defined as a score of 14 or more on the widely-used Beck Depression Inventory. Seventeen percent were taking antidepressants. The researchers say that for these patients, “depression is an independent determinant of health-related quality of life.”


Depressive illness can also precede a physical disease. It has been linked to coronary heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and possibly type 2 diabetes.

A 2003 study found that the treatment of depression in arthritis patients led to improved arthritis-related pain intensity, less interference with daily activities due to arthritis, and better overall health status and quality of life.


There’s a clear connection between our mental and physical health. One promotes or destroys the other. Bottom line, we need both. Stay tuned…..

Next week we jump into Part 3 of 5 parts of this series….”Where our current veteran physical and mental health lies”…stay tuned.

Veteran Wellness Program, Iron Eagles, a diagram of stats on a veterans mental health, it's a picture of a camo colored brain with stats branching out from it.