Mental Health equals Mental Wellness

Mental Health = Mental Wellness


You’re hearing about mental health a lot because a) May is Mental Health Awareness Month and b) we’re stuck in a pandemic that is aggravating mental health concerns in most people. Naturopathic Medicine may not be the first or even second choice of most Canadians if they are concerned about anxiety, depression, or other conditions like Substance Abuse or Bipolar Disorder. There are many good naturopathic options, especially for milder forms of these conditions or for people who suspect that 15 months of pandemic have started something new.


It’s important to recognize at the beginning that naturopathic treatments for mental health conditions can be integrated with therapy from social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists, as well as accredited Coaches. In many cases, natural medicines can be combined safely with prescription medicines – but let a Naturopathic Doctor make those recommendations rather than Dr. Google. This is an area where there are risky interactions between prescription and natural medicines. Naturopathic Doctors (ND) can check for interactions and recommend safe choices that will augment current treatments.


A holistic approach used by ND’s will consider the effects of your lifestyle and environment on your mood. Poor sleep, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet will work against your efforts to be healthy, including your mood. Another factor that is relevant today is your use of electronics, including computers, smartphones and tablets. Canadians are using their “devices” more than before, to keep up friendships, stay in touch with family, and to reduce boredom from restrictions, closures, and lockdowns. An article in Science Daily in November 2020 reported from a UBC study showing teens had better mental health when they participated in extracurricular activities (eg. sports, arts) and minimized “screen time”.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have reported on research that has also shown that more hours of daily screen time were associated with lower psychological well-being and teens demonstrated:

  • less curiosity
  • lower self-control
  • more distractibility
  • more difficulty making friends
  • less emotional stability
  • being more difficult to care for
  • inability to finish tasks

“There are huge implications for youth,” Dr. Scallon of NIH says. “What are they not doing when they’re on screens? What experiences are they missing out on?” It’s has been both necessary and difficult to minimize screen time during the pandemic, but it’s possible.


The choice of treatment is determined by what came first: the mental health problem or the lifestyle problems. The treatment you need might not be for anxiety or depression if these symptoms developed because you’re not sleeping or eating well. Natural medicines that improve your mood might be recommended along with sleep aids or assistance with developing an exercise program. Healthy eating can be programmed for an individual or family, and it can be fun and delicious!


If you’re receiving counselling or Coaching, natural medicines for mental health can help you advance faster and more effectively through therapy, allowing you to make the gains in life that you seek and eventually eliminate the supports.


Examples of natural medicines that can be effective for mental health problems include:


  1. Herbal medicines – Passionflower, Lemon balm, Skullcap, St. John’s Wort, Lavender, Valerian
  2. Nutritional supplements – L-theanine, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), B vitamins, N-Acetylcysteine, Inositol, magnesium bisglycinate
  3. Homeopathic remedies and formulas – Natrum muriaticum, Arsenicum album, Aurum metallicum, Ignatia


If you wish to keep supplements to a minimum, or seek some additional relief but are currently taking prescription medicines, treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, Bowen therapy and Reiki can be very supportive and often are practiced by Naturopathic Doctors.


If you’re stressed out (and who isn’t) and feel your mood is suffering, consider talking to a Naturopathic Doctor today. Dr. Scott Clack, ND is accepting new patients.