Well Life Presentation – Mental Health and Chronic Stroke

After Stroke Well Life -- Mental Health and Chronic Stroke

What is Mental Health?

Today’s Topic covers:

    • What Is Mental Health?
    • The effects a stroke can have on somebody’s mental health
    • The two most common mental health disorders
    • The word stigma and how it relates to mental health
    • What you can do to improve your mental health

The definition of mental health is a state of mental wellbeing. The three aspects within this definition are psychological, emotional, and social well being. These three aspects are going to be looked at more in depth throughout this presentation to see how they all work together to maintain your mental health.

How Does A Stroke Effect Mental Health?

  • A stroke can disrupt multiple different aspects of somebody’s life all of which play a role in mental health.
  • This can include physical, social, and personal aspects. As well as how someone interacts with their environment.

Multiple Factors

  • Physiological factors including changes to brain and bodily function are common
  • Social factors include our relationship dynamics
  • Personal factors are unique characteristics that may change

Physiological Changes

Physiological changes are some of the more objective changes that we see after a stroke. These can include things like changes to brain matter, brain function, brain chemistry, as well as bodily function such as hemiparesis, vision, sight, etc. This brings on many newly introduced limitations in this person’s life.


Social Changes

  • Social factors change after a stroke
  • Roles, responsibilities, and relationship dynamics are the most prevalent changes that are seen

Individuals also may not even go out in social settings anymore due to functional limitations brought upon by their stroke.

Personal Changes

Personal changes are unique to the individual. They may be a different person before and after the stroke. A sense of autonomy is something that many people lose after a stroke, this can be very detrimental to mental health. Along with this, careers may no longer be viable after a stroke, this large change can also be detrimental to mental health.

All Of These Factors Matter

  • The culmination of the previously mentioned factors play a role in mental health.
  • If these factors are out of balance, an individual can experience diminished mental health.
  • This is common in the chronic stroke population.

Most Common Mental Health Disorders

  • Depression and Anxiety are the most common post-stroke mental health disorders.
  • These are typically clinically diagnosed, there is a difference between a clincial diagnosis and simply exhibiting symptoms.

Signs of Depression

  • Fatigue, insomnia, and loss of appetite are common signs of depression.
  • Hygiene neglect is also a potential sign of depression.

Suicidal Ideation is extremely serious, if you or somebody you know is experiencing this, it is time to talk to a doctor. This is a strong indication that somebody is experiencing depression.

Signs of Anxiety

Anxiety is the other common mental health disorder associated with chronic stroke.

  • Panic Attacks are a common sign
  • Hyperfixating on problems is also a very common sign within this diagnosis
  • Similar to depression, there is a clinical diagnosis for this mental health disorder. These are simply the signs and symptoms.

The Mental Health Stigma

The stigma behind mental health is very prevalent today in society. Although we are getting better about addressing mental health, there still seems to be some form of stigma surrounding it, especially within the male population. It is our job to combat this stigma and make mental health a more talked about subject.

Stigma Defined

  • Stigma is defined as mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance
  • There should not be a stigma around something that is so important and relevant in society.

This stigma is due to the cultural norms in society that have been in place for hundreds of years.

Prevalence of Mental Illness  

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. deal with mental illness
  • 1 in 3 stroke survivors will experience anxiety or depression.

75% of stroke survivors will deal with mental health challenges during the recovery process. These numbers show how prevalent mental health issues are within this population.

What Can You Do?

It is clear that there is a mental health issue within this population. The next step is to ask yourself what you can do to help. This can mean helping yourself, but also helping those around you that you may see battling these mental health challenges post stroke. 

Strategies to Improve Mental Health

  • Most of these strategies have been researched and proven as useful ways to improve mental health.
  • Dietary changes are extremely important and can truly help improve your mental wellbeing.

Talking to a therapist is one of the most beneficial things a person with mental illness can do to improve their quality of life.