What is brain health and how is it different to mental health?

anxiety brain health depression mental health stigma stress Mar 16, 2021

When we talk about mental health, we typically tend to label the person as having the problem. When we talk about brain health, we look at this system that is causing the problem.  

A lot of people ask me, what is the difference between mental health and brain health? Mental health is very much focused on you having a problem. It is focused on the symptom clusters that lead to a diagnosis that you personally have a mental health struggle.

Brain health looks at your whole brain, your genetic makeup. It looks at your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual health. It looks at your brain as a connected system to the rest of your body. It looks at your brain as the engine that runs your body, which is exactly what it does.  

It focuses on helping you optimize your unique brain so that you don't just feel normal, but so that you can feel extraordinary and optimize your brain to get the best out of you.

Children are so accustomed now to the context of mental health, to the label that mental health has associated with it, that they're no longer labeling their emotions as actual emotions, but they're labeling them with diagnoses of a condition that they think they have. 

“I'm stressed,” “I'm depressed.” “I'm anxious.”

The very nature of calling it mental health and the word ‘mental’ attaches a strong stigma to it for our children. 

We can't get away from this stigma until we break away from the label of the words we use and the association of the diagnosis with it being the root cause of the struggle, which is it not. 

For example, you go to the doctor. You say “I think I’m depressed.” 

The doctor looks at the symptom clusters associated with depression, finds ones that correlate, labels you with “depression,” - which is a symptom, not the root cause of your struggles, and prescribes you with “antidepressants,” that treat the symptom, not the root cause. 

This current psychiatric model fails to address the root cause of that person’s struggle. The likely path of this patient is they consistently need more medication to treat the symptom of depression, yet they get no help in uncovering and addressing the root cause. 

They become dependent on the drugs as a crutch. Those drugs start to change the very chemistry of their brain health and so they become ‘addicted’ chemically to the relief the drug provides.

Brain health looks at the system as a whole and seeks to uncover the root cause that is causing the brain imbalance.

It's really important we reframe how we approach struggles with our brain health.

We owe it to our children to break the stigma.

We owe it to our children to reframe the conversation to one not of mental health, but one of overall brain health, so that we can focus on understanding the root cause of the problem and address the root cause, rather than treating the symptom with drugs that leads to long term dependency.

No one wants to be labelled as ‘mental.’ Everyone wants a better brain.


My name is Dr Ruth Mary Allan. I help those who have lost sight of their best self unchain their pain, unlock the secrets to greater mental clarity and performance and unleash their full potential through optimising their unique brain so that they can step into their best self. 

Back in 1998 I was struggling with really bad dandruff - dry skin on my head, and I didn't really know what the root cause of it was. 

I went to my doctor and he said, I think you're stressed. I can prescribe you with some antidepressants and that will hopefully take away the symptoms.

I was shocked here. I was 21 years old and I was being prescribed antidepressants for something that I knew I could uncover the root cause of and fix.

I was hoping to go into the military at the time, so my opportunities would have been squashed had I taken antidepressants. My whole life career ahead of me would have been changed.

I focused on understanding what the root cause of my stressors was, which was actually not getting enough sleep and taking on too much. Once I fixed those, that dandruff that I was having that chronic dry scalp condition went away and I didn't need any drugs. I didn't need any treatment. 

I didn't have any long-term dependency on something that was ultimately masking the symptom and not dealing with the root cause.

It's really important that we take the time to invest in the right things, providing the right education, the right training to help our children and to help adults, parents, caregivers, teachers, businesses, better understand how our brains work.

To learn how we can optimize our brains so that we can curb the massive rise in mental health issues, so that we can curb the diagnoses of stress, anxiety, and depression and associate dependency on using drugs to treat the symptoms, rather than fixing the root cause. 

So that we can help our children - empower our children and the next generation to learn how they can take back control of their health and wellbeing. Teach them how they can manage their unique brains more effectively and deal with the root cause of the issue, rather than masking the symptoms with drugs.Did you know that there are seven different types of depression and it depends on your brain type as to what type of depression you have?

Depression can be caused by a multitude of different things, including Lyme's disease. If we don't treat Lyme's disease, which can be done simply with antibiotics, we are never going to treat the root cause of that person’s depression. 

 Depression can also be caused by head trauma.

 Head trauma and concussion often lie undiagnosed root causes of chronic brain health struggles.

Multiple minor knocks can have huge consequences on our brain health. Our brain is the consistency of butter. Our skull internally has sharp bony ridges. When we hit our head our brain rattles inside our skull. 

The two don’t mix well. 

It’s like putting needles inside your bicycle helmet and wondering why your head hurts when you fall off your bike, even though your bike helmet isn’t damaged.

I know myself having had my brain image that my multitude of little knocks throughout my life has actually damaged the temporal lobes in my brain, making me more susceptible to memory struggles and depression. Had I not known that I wouldn't have the tools and techniques that I have now to make sure that I optimize and balance my unique brain. 

So what three steps can we take? 

Step 1Stop calling it mental health.

Remove the label mental. Remove the stigma. We owe it to our children. Educate them in something that is tangible - the brain. Teach them about how to acknowledge and embrace their emotions. Teach them about their brain. Teach them how they can manage their feelings.


Step 2Start talking about the brain in the context of overall health and wellbeing.

This is the very engine that runs our body, yet is rarely talked about from an overall health and wellbeing perspective.

When we focus on optimizing our brains, we can help ourselves balance our brains and make sure that we reduce and minimize the risk of any long-term mental health struggles.

Change the focus to the system that is causing the problem, rather than the person that is experiencing the problem.

Talking about brain health shifts our attention from reactive healthcare to proactive, preventative healthcare. 

When our brains work right, we work right.


Step 3Start looking at the organ that you treat. 

Psychiatry is the only medical profession that doesn't actually image the organ that it treats. It still continues to this day to follow the same policy as that adopted 150 years ago and guesses what your problem is based on symptom clusters. 

Psychiatry is very much focused on treating the symptom rather than treating the underlying root cause.

You don't know what the problem is unless you look.

This is the equivalent of going to a hospital and saying, “I think I've broken my leg.” The specialist treating you doesn't actually bother to look to see whether your leg is broken, even though it’s hurting like hell after you fell hard on a ski slope. 

They don’t bother to take an X-ray, even though the technology has been around for ages and proven scientifically. They don’t check your full history. They just look at your reported symptoms and say, “Here you are, have some very strong painkillers, hopefully that will mask the pain. And eventually it will go away.”

You leave, unable to walk again, unable to ski again. You lose your job, your livelihood and your relationships suffer.

That is ridiculous. Imagine the outcry! The negligence of not looking to see what the root cause was.

Or imagine you go to a heart doctor with chest pain. He looks at your chest, taps it a few times, says he thinks you’ve got chest pain and prescribes you with paracetamol. He never actually looks at the organ that he treats to see if you have a heart problem.

You leave deflated, no better informed and no better equipped to help remove the root cause of your chest pain and end up taking paracetamol daily, which also starts to play havoc on your gut health.

Several years later you die of a heart attack, but no one looked to see that you had a heart problem, and that your diet lay at the root cause. They just guessed what your problem was based on your symptoms. A simple dietary change and education could have saved you.

This is not a medical approach that I find acceptable for my daughter to grow up with.

But that is how we are currently diagnosing people from a psychiatry perspective and it needs to change. 

It is negligent in the medical profession of psychiatry to not to be looking at the organ that they are treating, when the technology has been available for over 30years and proven with over 175,000 patients imaged using SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) to better understand the root cause of the problem. 


If you'd like to find out more about how I can help you and you would like a unique brain health evaluation with reach back to specialist psychiatrists that actually image the organ that they treat make sure you register yourself for a FREE Unleashed Strategy Call. 

Apply at https://calendly.com/ruthmaryallan/free-unleashed-strategy-call

Once you do you’ll go to a sign up page to select your preferred time slot.

Every minute you delay getting the right support to help you or a loved one with your brain health struggles, it’s costing you lost time doing the things you love, time connecting with the people you love, and placing unnecessary strain on your brain and whole body health. 

Learn how I can help you unchain your pain, unlock the secrets to greater mental clarity and performance and unleash your full potential by optimising your unique brain.

The 2 minutes it will take you to register for your FREE unleashed strategy call will be the best 2 minutes you’ll ever invest.  Clicking on the button is the smart choice not only for you, but for those that you truly care about. It takes the right guide who has walked that path to show you the way. Let me help you.

We are here to support you


Connect with us so we can support you in answering any questions you have and help you find the best solution for you and those you care about!

Through our partnerships with professional service providers in the medical and wellbeing fields, we offer a wide range of services centred around optimising your brain health and wellbeing

Our goal is to support you and those you care about step into their best self