Parkinson’s and Mental Health: Integration Is Key

Two adults kayaking down river

To help guide us in our thinking about mental health and wellness in advance of our upcoming The Victory Summit® Virtual Event, we recently sat down with retired psychologist and Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador Brian McElwain, who explained how integration is key to living well. You can watch the interview below.

To download the transcript, click here.

Show Notes

  • Because our bodies are systems where each part is separate but connected, we shouldn't think of "mental health" as something distinct from other parts of our health. Physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health are all connected in this system
  • Recognizing that much talk about mental health focuses not on health but on illness (for example, an emphasis on depression, anxiety, and apathy), Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, set out to define what mental wellness looks like
  • Dr. Siegel says that the key to mental wellness is integration. What does this integration look like? He spells it out this way: FACES
      • Flexible
      • Adaptive
      • Coherent
      • Energized
      • Stable
  • The opposite of integration is disintegration, which Dr. Siegel describes as looking rigid or chaotic
  • In Dr. Seigel's model, there are nine domains of integration: integration of consciousness, bilateral integration, vertical integration, memory integration, narrative integration, state integration, interpersonal integration, temporal integration, and transpirational integration
  • These nine domains are interconnected; improving one area can springboard improvements in others, contributing to holistic wellness
  • When you start feeling disintegrated, take a deep breath (or several!), think about times in the past when you've been successful or have overcome obstacles, and reach out to others

Learn more about mental health and parkinson's

The Victory Summit® Virtual Event: Mental Health and Wellness
Friday, September 17
9 am – 1:15 pm Mountain Daylight Time (8am PDT, 10 am CDT, 11 am EDT)
The Victory Summit Virtual Event: Mental Health is almost here, and it’s all about the unseen side of Parkinson’s. Nearly 80% of people living with Parkinson’s report feeling depressed and anxious at some point throughout their disease. Feeling depressed and/or anxious can negatively impact your motor symptoms, relationships, sleep, disease progression, ability to exercise, and more, all of which are critical aspects to living well with Parkinson’s. During this event, you will learn from and interact with doctors who specialize in symptoms related to mood. You’ll also hear from people with Parkinson’s who have experienced various levels of depression and anxiety and the actions they’ve taken to reduce these symptoms and live better and thrive with Parkinson’s. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

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