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  • Writer's pictureUnita Cheeseman

Mental Illness: A Naturopath's Perspective

The recent suicide of rock legend Chris Cornell has the anti-pharmaceutical canons firing fiercely. Several post floating around Facebook are once again blaming prescription medication for his and countless other's death. It is tough to discern such a serious issue when emotions are flying high. All suicide is tragic, but not all suicide is done by patients on prescription medication. The truth is, although suicide is a possible side effect , it doesn't happen as often as we are brought to believe.

Think of the millions of people who are alive each day because their medication is working. We tend to focus only on the tragedy that is right in front of us instead of the big picture. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, " Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities."

Treatment for mental illness should always be integrative and comprehensive. In order to increase positive outcomes a treatment plan should include but not be limited to: allopathic treatment/medications, nutritional therapy, exercise, stress management, talk therapy, yoga/meditation, vitamin and mineral therapy to address deficiancies, and other lifestyle changes.

To help erase the stigma of mental illness and increase positive outcomes, natural health practitioners and those in the "crunchy" community need to demonstrate more compassion and be less critical of pharmaceutical interventions for the mentally ill. Furthermore, allopaths must realize that patients need a comprehensive plan and not just a pilled regimen. The goal of naturopathy is to treat the whole person and not just the symptoms. If you or someone you love is effected by mental illness contact Phoenix Rising today to have a comprehensive plan of recovery designed just for you or your loved one.

For immediate help the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is operated 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. Call 1-800-273-8255 for help.

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