“In these days of “clean eating” and “all natural” everything, there’s also a growing resistance among women to being “medicated” in general. “I hear from a lot of people who don’t want to medicate themselves for their mental health issues,” says Natasha Tracy, 38, a mental health speaker and writer who has been dealing with the challenges of bipolar disorder for 18 years, including periods of feeling suicidal. “Some of them won’t even work with a mental health professional at all because they know that the doctor will want them to take something. They want to believe that there’s a ‘natural’ way to fix this problem. If you had a problem like a broken foot, you wouldn’t expect an herb to fix it. People think a natural remedy will work for mental illness because it’s ‘just their emotions,’ but it’s biological; it’s in your brain. The brain is an organ just like any other. The brain is a very fancy organ and does a lot of things, but just like your lungs or pancreas can get sick, your brain can get sick.””
The article is about women, obviously, but I think this sort of “logic” is something many people are falling prey to. The idea that they can simply eat or meditate their way to good mental health. I’m not saying that eating healthy, and other practices shouldn’t be part of taking care of yourself, physically and emotionally, but when you are talking about something like severe depression, and other mental health issues, those things need to be part of an overall health plan that also includes medically proven treatments, which can be therapy and medication. In the end, not everyone is the same, and there is no one “natural” remedy that is going to solve the mental health crisis. We need to consider all of the possibilities.
We’re losing too many people to suicide, and may of those losses could be avoided if we treated mental illness like an illness, instead of a character flaw.