Mental health after cardiac arrest


MARCH 9, 2021


A crisis that can last a long time

The training you're thinking of taking or have already taken prepares you to intervene safely with victims of cardiac arrest using CPR techniques. But what happens after the crisis? What about their mental health? What to do if the victim is close to you?


Active convalescence

Chances are, the victim of cardiac arrest will have to change some of his or her lifestyle habits. Cardiovascular arrest is often linked to a number of causes stemming from bad habits: smoking, alcohol consumption, overweight, malnutrition, lack of physical activity, and so on.


Cardiac arrest, along with all the changes victims have to make to their habits - obviously important and necessary if recommended by a health professional - often have an impact on their mental health. Following their accident, they very often suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, and these conditions all too often go untreated.


In fact, according to a study in the journal Francophonies d'Amérique, the majority of participants in cardiac rehabilitation suffered from mood or anxiety disorders, while the remainder showed symptoms of depression and anxiety. Likewise, the study points out that the integration of psychological treatment during rehabilitation seems to improve their recovery and overall mental state. Similarly, a study by the University of Hamburg, showing equally alarming figures, also points out that the first year following the incident seems to have the greatest impact on the victim's quality of life.


Small gestures can make a big difference

In addition to professional help, small daily gestures such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, reading and communication in person or by telephone can greatly aid the recovery process and mental well-being.


To get through difficult periods, such as recovery from cardiac arrest, various organizations offer free, anonymous and confidential listening centers. These resources enable people in psychological distress to confide in one another, receive support and advice, and get assistance in finding the right professional help. Here are a few of them:

  • Tel Aide
  • Phobies Zéro (also offers virtual and physical support groups)
  • Pairs aidants j'écoute
  • Relief
  • mental health cardiac arrest
  • The mental health taboo


The subject of mental health is only just beginning to take its rightful place in public debate. As a result, many prejudices persist due to a lack of understanding of the reality of people with psychological disorders. For example, many people still believe that mental health problems are a sign of weakness.


Considering that at least 1 in 5 people will suffer from a mental health problem in their lifetime, it's critical that we recognize its importance and impact on our everyday lives.


For more information on the subject of mental health, we invite you to consult the relevant authorities and the following website:



  • Académie Saint-Bernard. March 2019. “Cardiovascular risk factors”. Lexicon. .
  • Berghmans, C., Tarquinio, C. and Strub, L. 2010. “Mindfulness meditation and psychotherapy in the management of health and illness.”
  • Greenman, P. S., Morin-Turmel, A. & Grenier, J. (2009). L'intégration d'un traitement psychologique en réadaptation cardiaque à l'Hôpital Montfort: une diminution des risques associés aux maladies cardiaques. Francophonies d'Amérique (28), 91-113.
  • University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Risk factors: What you should know”
  • Naber, D. and Bullinger, M. March 2018. “Psychiatric sequelae of cardia arrest.”
  • Before You Crack Network. “Mental illness, without taboos!”.


Arnaud Korth

Administrative officer