Are you happy with managing disease vs. promoting health?
Are you satisfied with the explanation that emotions and moods can be fixed by correcting a neurochemical imbalance?
If you believe that health is more than just the absence of symptoms… then there’s more to the story.
Last week, I explored how naturopathic medicine was the medical paradigm needed to create a transformation in conventional healthcare. Although modern medicine is life-saving and necessary for emergencies and acutely managing advanced pathologies, it is not moving the needle to create a healthier world. In fact, we have quite an unwell nation.
The United States Healthcare System is the most expensive compared to much of the developed world, and it has the least impressive results. Americans have the lowest life expectancy, use the most amount of preventative screening, and have the highest rates of chronic diseases. (1, 2, 3) Furthermore, the mental health of America is also alarmingly struggling.(4)
In this next overview of how sick care is failing us, I summarize some key mental health concerns that often get overlooked. I also provide resources and links from previous articles that explore this broad topic in more detail. Finally, I offer you an invitation to join my virtual community. When you participate, you are helping to shift the current medical mindset from dependency and disease management into one of proactive empowerment. (See my video below)
In my upcoming conclusion to this series, I will further share how naturopathic medicine can move from a one-on-interaction and into groups, communities, and society.
Mental Health in America is Really Sad
Recently, Mental Health America (MHA) assessed fifteen psychiatric health measurements from national surveys, compiled the results, and compared their incidence across the states. It was found that even prior to the traumas and uncertainties of the events of 2020-2021, 19% of Americans experienced mental illness. This is equivalent to over 47 million people! The state prevalence ranged from 16.14% in New Jersey to 25.25% in Utah. (5, 6, 7, 8)
Further troubling, MHA reported that depression and anxiety are increasing at an extraordinary rate:
From January to September 2020, 315,220 people took the anxiety screen, a 93 percent increase over the 2019 total number of anxiety screens. 534,784 people took the depression screen, a 62 percent increase over the 2019 total number of depression screens. (9)
On March 2021, the CDC echoed this disturbing rise based on their survey using a validated four-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-4):
During August 2020–February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%. Increases were largest among adults aged 18–29 years and those with less than a high school education. (9)
What is interesting is that many people felt anxious and depressed, even if their emotions were not “validated.”
Regardless of the exact numbers, it is agreed that trends continue to move upwards for those struggling with psychological imbalances. Sadly, our current treatments are inadequate to meet sufferers’ needs. About 11% of Americans who need mental health support are uninsured, and only about 27% of youth with severe depression receive constant care. (10)
As stated in my latest article on Natural Path:
In my practice as a naturopathic doctor, I find that a huge missing piece in modern and some integrative approaches is the dismissal of the imperative connection between the mind-body, social connections, and spiritual beliefs. During the world’s recent turmoil, I discussed how naturopathic medicine is poised to fill in the gap for holistic mental health and how NDs could be support agents for change in addressing the current psychological crisis. NDs have the ability to provide the nation with safe, holistic, and natural emotional support solutions. When these tools are used with my clients who have struggled and been blocked for years, I have witnessed massive shifts for the better.
I strongly believe you cannot treat the physical without looking at the emotional. Furthermore, you cannot treat the emotional without peering into what physiologically and biochemically impacts brain health. (11)
More on Why Sick Care Needs Naturopathic Help
I am not saying that there is no place for conventional care. For diagnostics, acute traumas, and temporarily suppressing symptoms of dangerous pathologies, it is exceptional. Still, the results have been utterly dismal for preventing disease, treating chronic illness, and keeping people well.
Until things shift, I will continue to call out the elephant in the waiting room. Below are my previous articles that go into more detail on this topic and a brief overview of each.
- Why Sickcare Needs Holistic Help – This article discusses how the recent crisis provided an opportunity to weave in new healthcare reformation.
- Is Our Current Approach to Medicine Insane? Part I- This post reviews the overuse of medical diagnostics and the problems with laboratory test validity. This may seem shocking, but basing your health decisions solely on labs can be a costly, inaccurate mistake. As I stated:
An estimated 60-70% of decisions for patient care are based on lab results,1,11,12 yet these results are highly variable based on the lab, the instruments used, and a person’s age and gender. Furthermore, all labs use different reference ranges, complicating interpretations and consensus of “normal.” Another issue is that these ranges are based on different populations of individuals who not displaying symptoms of a specific disease that the lab is set to determine.11-15 This doesn’t necessarily make these ranges optimal measures of health.
- Is Our Current Approach to Medicine Insane? Part II –This post reviews the scary statistics on how medication has not been fully validated in real world settings and that standard of care based on randomized trials aren’t necessarily translating to everyday results.
- The Reasons for Inconsistent and Confusing Conclusions in Studies Assessing Nutrients and Supplements– This blog post discusses how studies on nutrients are set-up to fail if they are based on poor quality input. Negative results can be linked to:
- not testing for the need for an intervention or nutrient (using baseline measures to determine a deficiency first before applying the treatment)
- not giving co-factors that are needed for a particular nutrient to be utilized in the body
- not considering quality of the product
- using incorrect forms of the natural substance or poor absorptive forms
- and/or not assessing for nutrient-nutrient, nutrient-drug, or herbal-drug interactions.
- Medicating Stress & Depression Away: Search for the “Dr. Feel Good” Pill (Part I) & Medicating Stress & Depression Away: Search for the “Dr. Feel Good” Pill (Part II)– In this post series, I look at studies on mental health and why they miss the underlying issues that may be contributing to our nation’s sad state. I also provide a more comprehensive look at what the implications of these studies are and how lifestyle medicine and essential oils can support the interplay of the infinite factors involved in brain health and emotional balance.
- Why We Need to Pay More Attention to Mental Health & How to Holistically Support the Mind-Body– This article reviewed the state of mental health in America during 2020 and how a holistic approach was lacking. I discussed how naturopathic medicine could help fill the gap in holistic mental health medical care.
Conclusions & Solutions
In the past few articles, I’ve shown how our current delivery of health is sorely lacking when applied broadly to chronic disease and keeping people well. Naturopathic medicine not only provides a solution for an individualized, one-on-one wellness model, but a system of medicine that can transform how healthcare is practiced.
What is as exciting, is the fact that naturopathic medicine can also be utilized on group, societal, and community levels. In my upcoming post, I will share with you exactly how naturopathic medicine is transforming and innovating healthcare by highlighting some of the key lectures during July’s Annual American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) 2021 Convention. Topics on environmental health, the climate, bias, and cultural differences will be reviewed.
If you are interested in learning more about naturopathic solutions for supporting emotional balance, I have consistently posted on many natural resources that I use for holistic brain health on my naturopathic blog including essential oils and herbs for focus, essential oils for mental health and mood, and more. In them, I explore how the mind and body are not separate but interrelated.
Now… for an invitation.
The world is still so uncertain.
Just as we appear to be moving forward, we are pulled back.
That is why I am continually creating strategies and resources to assist you with becoming more resilient and empowered. It starts with the right mindset…. then the rest can fall into place.
Please come join me and my friends and stay in touch.
- community support
- resources to nourish your mind-body
- the opportunity to join in free challenges and participate in upcoming virtual online programs
- strategies that aren’t what you find on the internet from experts
Do this for you and for our community as a whole!
You may be busy, but you don’t not have time for this!
Watch my invitation video below.
Let’s move the needle more on creating communities of health empowerment that are proactive and nurturing wellness together!
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures, vaccination, and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.