When I returned to seeing clients after my stint working in the pharmaceutical world of antidepressants & antipsychotics I was truly excited by the potential in our dispensary. 18 years later I remain just as excited. But what I hadn’t yet understood was just how much new knowledge I had gained from working in that other world. For example, did you know that SSRIs have secondary binding properties that all have a different pattern of boosting or blocking other neurotransmitters…and knowing these can help us choose the right treatment for any patient who has responded (un)favourably?

And I also hadn’t yet come to recognise all the other skills and knowledge needed to really help patients with their mental health…that are as a) important as anything in a bottle b) help the ‘bottles’ work better and c) direct you to the best ‘bottle’ in the first place

Like understanding the trajectory of certain diagnoses, recognising red flags, the need to rewrite your regular consult for patients with primary mental health presentations to get the most important information and adjust your expectations: never setting them up to fail etc.  Over the same time it has taken for my toddlers to almost stop being teenagers, I’ve continued to passionately research, upskill and work in this area and discover more and more tools that  matured my ‘dispensary excitement’ into a more well-rounded practitioner who is a real part of the mental health care team and most importantly a genuine resource for my clients. But my under-graduate didn’t get me here.

Do you know your DASS (Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale) from your MDQ (Mood Disorder Questionnaire)? And how to assess kids and teenagers who are too young for these? Do you know which methylation SNPs actually have the strongest links with mental health risk & what your patient’s uric acid levels tell you about their excitatory/inhibitory (im)balance? Do you have go-tos for the amotivational depressed patient to improve engagement with their own health changes? Do you know how to write a referral letter for a mental health client?

I’m very pleased to say the ‘mintees’ who are just wrapping up their year of the Mental Health Primer Mentoring with me do and much more. Recently, the fabulous Dr Erica McIntyre [who is of course in reality one of us…a naturopath…just a turbo charged one;)] has been conducting a seriously important survey asking naturopaths about our work in mental health. This is so timely (and yes your time is NOW if you haven’t done it already!!) because Erica has told me that some other new data she’s getting ready to publish has revealed that 70% of CAM users have had a mental health diagnosis in the past 3 years. 70%👀  Erica is as passionate as I am about the enormous contribution we can make here but we also agree that a) we are flying under the radar as significant contributors in mental health care with the rest of the providers unaware and b) our training might be falling short in preparing us for this kind of client base and important role.  I’m passionate about us all stepping up to that plate en masse as soon as we can.

If you’re interested in joining our Mental Health Primer Group for 2020 then email us at admin@rachelarthur.com.au for more information today.


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