MindHealth360 was created in response to a pressing need: to improve the way mental health is treated by conventional medicine in the West.
As Thomas Insel, ex director of the National Institute of Mental Health said in 2013:
Whatever we’ve been doing for five decades, it ain’t working. When I look at the numbers—the number of suicides, the number of disabilities, the mortality data—it’s abysmal, and it’s not getting any better. Maybe we just need to rethink this whole approach.Greenberg, G. (2013, May 16). The Rats of N.I.M.H. [online] The New Yorker. Available at: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-rats-of-n-i-m-h [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- 1 in 4 people worldwide suffers from a mental health issueWorld Health Organization (2001). Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope. [online] Geneva: World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/whr/2001/en/ [accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
- 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental disorders, and many more have mental health problemsWorld Health Organization. (2003). Investing in Mental Health. [online] Geneva: Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/investing_mnh.pdf [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide (2017). Depression: Fact Sheet. [online] World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/ [accessed 19 Sept. 2017]., even though it was predicted only a few years ago that by 2020 it would only be the second leading contributor to the global burden of diseaseWorld Health Organization (2001). Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope. [online] Geneva: World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/whr/2001/en/ [accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
- Nearly two-thirds of people (65%) say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living aloneMental Health Foundation. (2017). Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK’s mental health. [online] Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/surviving-or-thriving-state-uks-mental-health [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- Approximately 30% of all GP consultations are related to a mental health problem(2014, Nov.) Talking to your GP about a Mental Health Problem. [online] Royal College of Psychiatrists. Available at: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/treatmentswellbeing/talkingtoyourgp.aspx [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- The National Health Service (NHS) spends only 13% of its budget on mental health, and yet mental health causes 28% of the illnessTriggle, N. (2014, Sept. 9). Chief medical officer: Make mental health bigger priority. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29116354 [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- Suicide is the most common cause of death in men under 35(2015, Nov. 3). The stats that prove mental health needs to be made a major priority. [online] The Week. Available at: http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/60329/mental-health-report-the-crisis-at-home-and-abroad [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- 9% of the British population suffer from anxiety and depressionHalliwell, E., Main, L. and Richardson, C. (2007). The Fundamental Facts. [online] London: Mental Health Foundation. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/fundamental_facts_2007.pdf [accessed 20 Aug. 2017].
- 1 out of 3 children in the UK live with behaviour, attention and learning problemsHouse of Commons Education and Skills Committee. (2006). Special education needs: Third Report of Session 2005-06. Vol. 1. [online] London: The Stationery Office, p. 9. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmeduski/478/478i.pdf [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- Roughly one in two Americans will experience a mental health disorder, the highest rate in the world according to the World Health Organization(2015, Nov. 3). The stats that prove mental health needs to be made a major priority. [online] The Week. Available at: http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/60329/mental-health-report-the-crisis-at-home-and-abroad [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- Over one’s entire lifetime, the average American has a 47.4% chance of having any kind of mental health disorderWalton, A. (2017). Why More Americans Suffer from Mental Disorders Than Anyone Else. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/10/why-more-americans-suffer-from-mental-disorders-than-anyone-else/246035/#slide1 [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
- The World Health Organisation data does not take into account eating disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia; the incidence of these disorders together is about 15% in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental HealthWalton, A. (2017). Why More Americans Suffer from Mental Disorders Than Anyone Else. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/10/why-more-americans-suffer-from-mental-disorders-than-anyone-else/246035/#slide1 [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
Kirsch, I. in Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good. London: Icon Books, p. 67.Kirsch, I. (2008). Challenging Received Wisdom: Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect. [online] McGill Journal of Medicine, 11 (2), pp. 219-22. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582668/ [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
If you are depressed, anxious, insomniac, chances are your conventional doctor (GP, psychiatrist) will offer you anti-depressants, sleeping pills, tranquilisers, etc. and some talk therapy if you are lucky. These often don’t work, or if they do work, 30% of their effect is placebo and have terrible side effects. And most importantly, even if they do work they treat the symptoms rather than the causes of mental health issues.
Mostly they [antidepressants] have placebo effects and side-effects.Moncrieff, J. in Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good. London: Icon Books, pp. 105-6.Goldsmith, J. and Moncrieff, J. (2011). The Psychoactive Effects of Antidepressants and their Association with Suicidality. [online] Current Drug Safety, 6 (2), pp. 115-21. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21375477 [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
85 to 90 per cent of people being prescribed antidepressants are not getting any clinically meaningful benefit from the drug itself.Kirsch, I. in Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good. London: Icon Books, p. 67.Kirsch, I. (2008). Challenging Received Wisdom: Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect. [online] McGill Journal of Medicine, 11 (2), pp. 219-22. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582668/ [accessed 19 Sept. 2017].
For mildly/moderately depressed patients, our results confirm that antidepressants offer no advantage over placebos, alternative therapies, or even moderate exercise. There is no question that these drugs are over-hyped to the general public. The research shows they are not as good as the psychiatric establishment and the pharmaceutical industry claim they are.Brown, W. in Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good. London: Icon Books, p. 70.
On average, antidepressants come with seventy possible adverse reactions, and for some, as many as five hundred.Gottfried, S. (2013). The Hormone Cure. New York, NY: Scribner, p. 66.
Possible side effects of antidepressants
- Weight gain
- Numbing and sedation
- Suicidal tendencies
- Addiction and withdrawal issues
- Low libido
- Preterm labor
- Infant convulsions
- Breast and ovarian cancer
- Lowered brain functionAmen, D. (2013). Unleash The Power Of The Female Brain. New York: Harmony Books, p. 22.
What we believe
Mental health issues cannot be sustainably and reliably treated by taking a generic pill and/or attending talk therapy. Anti-depressants, sleeping tablets & tranquilizers can be helpful, in some situations, and as a short term fix, maybe. Talk therapy can be brilliant.
However, conventional medicine and psychiatry often treat the symptoms of mental health issues, rather than tackling their root causes or their physiological consequences.
And yet, to resolve mental health issues sustainably, we need to examine all the lifestyle-behavioural, psycho-spiritual, and biochemical factors that impact mental health, because these are inseparable – our lifestyle, our psychology, and our biochemistry all interact and impact upon each other.
Therefore we need to consider:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Gut issues
- Nutritional imbalances
- Negative thought patterns and beliefs
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits
- Difficult life circumstances
- Psychological trauma
- Genetic factors
Despite this, rarely will our mental health doctors advise us have a hormone panel done, or our nutritional status checked, or a stool sample taken to test for gut issues, or a blood test for heavy metals.
And yet we believe that mental health issues cannot be successfully and sustainability treated without exploring the biochemical imbalances which may be contributing to our mental health symptoms, alongside the possibly more obvious psycho-spiritual and lifestyle-behavioural contributors.
This approach is part of a type of medicine referred to as integrative, or functional, and practiced by about 1% of doctors in the US and the UK.
Integrative and functional medicine
- Focuses on the optimal functioning of our biochemistry, on prevention and early intervention, and on addressing possible causes rather than treating symptoms
- Open to non-Western medical traditions, and includes evidence-based alternative medical practices
- Customises treatments to each individual based on their unique physical, biochemical, and psychological profile, rather than using the more one-size-fits-all pharmacological approach
Practicing integrative healthcare can be more time consuming, labour intensive (on the part of the patient and the practitioner) expensive and complex than more conventional and pharmacological approaches, which may be why it is not yet widely practiced.
Furthermore, due to the business of medicine and the expense of researching remedies which can only be justified if a remedy can be patented and successfully sold (not the case with many natural remedies) it is not always easy to gather satisfactory evidence for more naturally-based remedies.
And yet, we believe that an integrative approach to mental health is the only way to successfully and sustainability treat mental health issues, and that we need a revolution in the conventional way mental health is approached and treated in mainstream medicine.
We aim to contribute to that revolution with MindHealth360.