Advanced Care Research Centre

Thought-provoking engagement from Mind and Body in (dis)Harmony

“Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow, don't stop, it'll soon be here.”

As the refrain from one of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits was beautifully sung by the choir, it couldn’t help but be seen as a poetic summary of the preceding hour.

On 8th June, St Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh played host to a wonderful event, with personal testimony mingled with uplifting musical performances and discussions around latest research.

The purpose of ‘Mind and body in (dis)harmony’ was to illustrate just how intrinsically linked mental and physical health are, and by the end of the evening, it seemed that purpose was achieved. Everything about the event focussed on the links between the two, starting from the two stands in the foyer, one looking at depression risk factors, and the other detailing Prescribe Culture.

Professor Daniel Smith

Each speaker gave a detailed and thoughtful presentation, from differing perspectives:

  • Kelly Fleetwood gave a broad overview of the evening, detailing the how to engage and outlining the schedule.
  • Regina Prigge discussed the links between physical health and mental health, with a historic look back to Descartes and mind-body dualism.
  • Professor Daniel Smith provided an overview of depression, it’s relation to comorbidities and looked at the research around physical illness as a risk factor. Returning later, he spoke about what science can do, what we as healthcare workers, as people, as a society can do
  • And Pat Watson bravely outlined her experiences with depression, and how it affected her physical ill-health.

Each speaker circled back to the fact that while physical health is a risk factor for mental health, and vice versa, improvement in one can lead to improvements in the other as time goes by.

The presentations were broken up by songs sung fabulously by Forth Valley Chorus, who impressed in what was their first public performance since covid restrictions were first put in place. Human, Change the World and Rolling in the Deep were among those given a powerful delivery.

Throughout each section, there was a clear theme of ‘what brings you joy’, with Pat mentioning her garden and dog, and the Director of the choir mentioning the choir itself – bringing a sense of community to those involved.

The level of detail within the discussion between the audience and researchers at the end showed a high level of engagement with the topic at hand, and it seemed as though everyone left the building with a clearer picture of how to improve both physical and mental health. Or, as Fleetwood Mac would put it:

“It'll be better than before; yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.”