I am
Recovering cardiac patients at greater risk of mental health problems
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Recovering cardiac patients at greater risk of mental health problems

Media Release - 14 June 2020

People are at greater risk of experiencing mental illness following a heart event, according to the Heart Foundation. Ahead of Men’s Health Week beginning tomorrow – the theme of which is preventing suicide together – the organisation is urging Australian men to get a Heart Health Check and avoid health problems on two fronts.

Queensland truck driver Dave Watene was only 43 when breathing difficulties took him to see his GP. Tests in hospital revealed that the left side of his heart wasn’t working properly, and doctors also found two blood clots – one in his heart and the other in his lung.

Dave eventually recovered but was unable to work for 18 months, He began struggling with depression. “It was financially stressful because I couldn’t contribute to the family. I’m lucky that they and my friends helped me pull through, and I got professional help, so finally things started to improve,” he said.

Heart Foundation’s Heart Health General Manager Bill Stavreski said that Dave’s story was all too common.

“A heart event is a major hit in anyone’s book,” said Mr Stavreski. “While only a minority of patients develop severe clinical depression after a cardiac event, many experience transient but significant emotional disturbance during convalescence that we sometimes refer to as the ‘cardiac blues’.

“Maintaining a healthy heart is therefore inextricably linked with good mental health.”

Truckie Dave urges us not to wait until it’s too late to get a Heart Health Check. “Put your health and wellbeing first – for yourself, and the ones you love,” he said.

Steps we can take to reduce the risk of developing heart disease

Get a Heart Health Check 

A new Medicare-funded heart health check is available to all Australians. If you’re 45 or over, or 30 or over if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, arrange one today. Your doctor will look at a range of factors about your heart health and help you devise a plan to stay well.

Be more active more often

More than 81 per cent of Australian men do not meet physical activity guidelines. You should be active on most days of the week, and preferably all, aiming for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Eat a heart-healthy diet

A healthy eating pattern doesn’t focus on one type of food or one particular nutrient. Heart-healthy eating relies on a combination of foods, chosen regularly, over time. A good pattern gives us food that is low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugar, and rich in wholegrains, fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fats.

Quit smoking 

Smoking is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, not to mention a host of other health problems. Take action now to quit.

Men’s Health Week runs from 15 to 21 June 2020.

Media enquiries

Bruce Ransley, Media Advisor
M: 0419 710 083 E: bruce.ransley@heartfoundation.org.au

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Christmas Appeal

Christmas Appeal

Christmas Appeal

Make a donation to our Christmas Appeal on behalf of a family member or a loved one and receive a personalised eCard to let them know....

Looking for that perfect gift?

Looking for that perfect gift?

Looking for that perfect gift?

Make a donation to our Christmas Appeal on behalf of a family member or a loved one and receive a personalised eCard to let them know....

Hazelnut maple granola clusters

Hazelnut maple granola clusters

Hazelnut maple granola clusters

30 minutes

Q&A with Professor Kerry-Anne Rye

Q&A with Professor Kerry-Anne Rye

Q&A with Professor Kerry-Anne Rye

A new way to keep people who have had a heart attack healthy...

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

Ask the experts: caring for people with CVD during COVID-19...

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

Alliance with chronic disease prevention stakeholders...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

A coronary artery calcium score can be used following a Heart Health Check to estimate your risk of heart attack....

How to keep your heart healthy habits rolling all year round

How to keep your heart healthy habits rolling all year round

How to keep your heart healthy habits rolling all year round

What is angina?

What is angina?

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that’s a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Coronary Angiogram Test

Coronary Angiogram Test

This is a common test done to find out angina symptoms, or during or after a heart attack. ...

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

Finding support and connection after a heart attack: Nicola Surbevski’s heart story

Finding support and connection after a heart attack: Nicola Surbevski’s heart story

Q&A with Dr Jessica Orchard

Q&A with Dr Jessica Orchard

Q&A with Dr Jessica Orchard

Cardiac screening of athletes: disparities and differences in electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation criteria in under-represented populations...

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Resources to help manage your grant, scholarship or fellowship....

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

One pot green goodness pasta

One pot green goodness pasta

One pot green goodness pasta

15 minutes
Serves 4

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

The program works with local communities to help improve heart health in the Pilbara....

Vegetarian lasagne

Vegetarian lasagne

Vegetarian lasagne

1 hour
Serves 6

Supporting Your Emotional Wellbeing: An Online Forum for Young Heart Patients

Supporting Your Emotional Wellbeing: An Online Forum for Young Heart Patients

Supporting Your Emotional Wellbeing: An Online Forum for Young Heart Patients

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and exercise can benefit your heart, body and mind....

Automated Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD or AICD)

Automated Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD or AICD)

This is a device inserted into your chest to return abnormal heart rhythms to normal using electrical impulses. ...

Blood pressure and your heart

Blood pressure and your heart

Blood pressure and your heart

Understand blood pressure and how it can impact your heart health....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for healthcare professionals....