When is this day celebrated? July 17
What is National Heart-Brain Health Day?
Research in the past three decades strongly suggest that heart disease and mental illness may actually cause one another to occur. For example, cardiovascular disease can cause depression, anxiety, dementia, and other neurological and psychological disorders. The inverse is also true that having untreated anxiety or depression can lead to cardiovascular problems such as rapid heart rate and higher risk for heart attack or stroke. It is critically important to understand that heart-brain disorders may have both a correlation and/or causation in the emergence of cardiovascular and neurological disease comorbidities.
How should this day be observed?
To observe National Heart-Brain Health Day, the objective is to focus on self-care in cardio and mental wellness. Go for a brisk walk in nature, find a quiet space to meditate, and allow your mind and heart to find calm and peace. Call your primary care practitioner for a health check-up AND find/visit a good therapist to work through any mental or psychological anguish. Post on your social media platform how you honor the day (picture of you meditating, going for a walk, having your blood pressure taken, etc.) and use the hashtag #nationalheartbrainhealthday or #july17heartbrainhealthday. The positive correlation between heart and brain disease can transform to heart and brain wellness when appropriate treatment is accessed.
Who created this day?
This day was founded by Shannon Frank-Richter in July 2019. She says:
My best friend and my mother shared the same birthday, July 17. I lost my best friend to suicide in 2015. She struggled with mental illness, as well as challenges in managing rapid heart beat, most especially when she was suffering from her anxiety attacks. I lost my mother to vascular dementia, a primary heart-brain disorder that is ultimately fatal. Both Atta and my mother were very conscientious about their health and being heart healthy; however, their respective brain disorders became their silent killers. I want to honor their shared birthday by bringing awareness to the health issues of which they struggled, and the vascular and neurological comorbidities that ultimately took their lives.