MindCheck Monthly: Navigating Mental Health Services – An Orthomolecular & Community Perspective


Mental Health System

Have you had difficulty navigating the mental health system? … If so, you might consider a model of care that includes Orthomolecular treatment or other community service options.

Finding the Right Mental Health Services for You

I often see patients who have gone through the mental health system who need more help.  The good news is that there are options.  Here we discuss options offered by a model orthomolecular mental health clinic, a model community platform, and a mindfulness-based stress reduction model.

Mental Health Services: A Model Orthomolecular Option

Orthomolecular mental health clinics are diverse in their approach.  Some focus on little lab while others use a targeted lab approach.  Behind every model orthomolecular clinic you should see an approach that has an evidence base derived from the archive of clinical nutrition and, that closely monitors patient symptoms and lab results.

The Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic offers a model targeted orthomolecular lab approach.  The focus here is to determine treatment by implementing treatment protocols honed by the experience of nutritional archives and the patients’ symptom and lab profile.  Lab testing is pivotal in figuring out which biochemical pathway is imbalanced and how severe it is, and there are 15 syndromes commonly associated with optimal physical and mental health.  The Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic has meshed classic orthomolecular protocols into a model advanced modern approach.

Orthomolecular Treatment: The BodyMindLink

Targeted lab-based orthomolecular treatment yields physical and mental health benefits.  The physical benefits often include neutralization/prevention of symptoms associated with fatigue, aging, low thyroid metabolism and adrenal burnout (i.e. slow metabolism), food sensitivities, allergies, problems losing or gaining weight, cardiovascular disease, low blood sugar, cancer predisposition, chronic disease, digestive problems, menstrual issues, heavy metals, poor immunity,  stress intolerance, insomnia, and poor memory, mental performance and cognition.

The mental health benefits often include neutralization/prevention of symptoms associated with nervousness, irritability, mood and behavior disorders (ADD/ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, bipolar), and schizophrenia.

Mental Health Services: A Model Community Platform Option

Community mental health service platforms range in skill and services offered.  In my opinion, the Family Outreach & Response Unit offers one of the best community service programs for mental health.

Our previous blog on this community service program covers their comprehensive approach to mental health care.

The Family Outreach & Response platform includes a family recovery support program that helps you determine missing ‘alternative recovery-oriented services’.  Specific programs include an early intervention family-support program called With Haste (hope and support through education), a support platform for those struggling with any mental distress or illness called the Family Recovery Program, and an independent Youth Engagement Project that builds wellness and community in high schools and opens dialogue around mental health called Talk to Youth Lately (TTYL).”  TTYL shows are running in the GTA and a circus element has been included (most recently, the March 19th & 20th show called Circus Berserkus).

The current program includes the April 25th “Families Count: Healing Together” conference holds workshops on navigating the mental health system, living with distress, dialectic behavior therapy, navigating hospital systems and crisis supports, tips from knowledgeable caregivers, and yoga for mental health.

Mental Health Services: The Dialectic Behavior Therapy Option

Dialectic Behavior Therapy can be useful in cases with mood disorder, behavior disorder (ADD, OCD), post-traumatic stress (PTSD), or situations with self-harm, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, challenges associated with poor emotional regulation, or borderline personality disorder.

DBT is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that uses mindfulness and acceptance of a clients’ perspective while acknowledging that there is need for change to achieve goals.

Mental Health Services: The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Option

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can be very helpful.  An example of a mindfulness technique that clients have found useful is the classic Stress Reduction Program founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979.  The MBSR technique avails of the use of a ‘systematic cultivation of awareness’.  Dr Kabat-Zinn’s 2011 Lecture on MBSR describes the technique and science behind how it works.

The Center for Mindfulness in Massachusetts offers a model program for MBSR.  MBSR professionals and programs can be found locally (e.g. Toronto) and all over North America.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: The BodyMindLink

MBSR is useful over a broad range of conditions.  Physical health issues helped with MBSR include chronic pain or a broad range of conditions that cause anxiety or panic (secondary diagnosis).  Mental health issues helped with MBSR include stress reduction in general and mental illness (mood disorder, OCD, etcetera).

MindCheck provides in-depth information on Orthomolecular and Naturopathic approaches to achieving mental and physical health.  This series by Dr. Ray Pataracchia ND is endorsed by the Mindful Network – ‘A Better Future for Children’s Mental Health’.  Here we explore nutrient and lifestyle perspectives on health syndromes that when treated benefit both the body and the mind.

Disclaimer: Information provided is not to be used for self-assessment, diagnosis or treatment.  We advise the public to discuss these topics with their health care provider or book an appointment with our Toronto clinic.