Lankering: Move from mental to brain health |

Lankering: Move from mental to brain health

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

There is a new paradigm evolving in the area of mental health. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, the focus is changing to brain health. This is based in neuroscience and focuses on brain fitness and the ability of the brain to handle and respond to stress.

We can’t get rid of stress. We can help the brain respond and recover more effectively.

An analogy of this approach can be made to tree skiing in the glades. Focusing on where the trees are not, compared to focusing on the trees, can have different results.

The old stigmatizing paradigm places disparaging labels on people. Labels such ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, traumatic brain injuries, and more put people in a box that can compromise their abilities to get healthy.

By reframing the discussion from mental health to brain health, the perception of this topic changes. 

Lifestyle changes and applications of new technologies are reversing conditions that were previously thought to be irreversible. 

Chronic stress has a tremendous impact on the brain. It is known to shrink the brain. This can be a factor in dementia.

Neuroplasticity is demonstrating that the brain can change, grow, and heal. The old approach has not resulted in improvements. Yet, many still keep expecting to create new results with the same approach. 

One can only be as mentally healthy as the brain is healthy. When the brain is balanced, the body will be balanced. When the brain is in trouble, the person will be in trouble.

Dr. Tom Lankering