There are so many advertised “solutions” and supports for mental illness that it’s hard to know what’s actually effective and safe, and where to start when trying something new. Here are some resources we find more promising and offering some real value, each with a focus on addressing potential roots or contributors to mental illness, and with a holistic, lifestyle-centered approach.
This list will always be growing and changing. If you know of safe, effective resources that can help with both short and long-term healing, please email us!
[Note: Though we share many similar views as some of the following sources, we do not necessarily endorse everything that any of these resources offer. Please look carefully at potential supports for mental illness and use your best judgment to decide if something is safe and worth trying.].
More Sustainable Healing for Depression/Anxiety
Depression, The Way Out, Dr. Neil Nedley is a pioneer in translating risk-factor research into interventions, and has been one of our inspirations for years. His courses and retreats have benefited tens of thousands across the country.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy This approach to therapy, called “MBCT,” for short, combines the best of cognitive therapy and the best of mindfulness – to offer one of the most powerful resources for depression available. This came out of a collaboration between leading mindfulness and cognitive therapy scholars – and can be thought of as an adaptation of the popular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) class (see Plouse Mindfulness for an online version of that).
A risk-factor based approach. Take our questionnaire exploring some of the many contributors to depression as a way to start laying out your own comprehensive plan to seek more sustainable healing over time. A local company is creating a similar product in app form – to be released this fall. Stay tuned!
A Mind of Your Own, Dr. Kelly Brogan has done her own gathering of broad-based supports for depression/anxiety and offers research-grounded guidance.
211.org Tons and tons of great links and referrals for other support across the country.
More Sustainable Healing for Attention Difficulties
Mindfulness for ADHD Dr. Zylowska is one of many exploring the possibilities of mindfulness for improving attentiveness. Similar to UCLA’s mindfulness studies showing improved attentiveness, our own randomized-controlled trial of mindfulness for teens showed their attention improving over 8 weeks.
A risk-factor based aproach Take our questionnaire exploring some of the many contributors to attention difficulties as a way to start laying out your own comprehensive plan to seek more sustainable improvement in attention over time.
More Sustainable Healing for Hallucinations & Delusions (Schizophrenia)
Though many have heard the presence of voices, hallucinations and delusions are indicators of a life-long impairment, this isn’t what the long-term research has found. International studies have documented majorities of people with schizophrenia going on to lasting healing, of different degrees. But how? Rates of healing in the United States are actually lower in these conditions than abroad – so inspiration in this area comes from several international initiatives, described below.
Hearing Voices Network (and Hearing Voices U.S.A.) This is as closest to a “mindfulness based approach” to schizophrenia that exists – involving groups of open hearing and sharing about anything someone is experiencing, without label, harsh judgment, or pressure. All of Life’s co-founder, Jacob Hess, has been trained in this approach – and is preparing to launch groups starting this fall in his home state of Utah (contact him if you’d like to get involved.) Reach out to Hearing Voices network to see if there are groups in your area!
The Open Dialogue approach Pioneered in Laplands Finland in the 1980’s, this community-oriented approach has seen remarkable increases in healing, and a reduced reliance on psychotropics to manage the condition. Training in North America is provided here and a comprehensive list of open dialogue resources is available here (See, for instance, this Psychology Today piece)
Exploring how to safely taper off of medication
This is a sensitive and deeply personal question, that we encourage people to explore with the help of family and professionals they trust.
The Withdrawal Project Laura Delano leads this national initiative to connect those exploring how best to safely taper, something she herself did after a number of years on psychiatric medication. This is something that ought to pursued only when someone feels ready, and with the support of trusted others, included ideally professional management. We know Laura personally – and can highly recommend her. This may be the best aggregation of resources on tapering in the world.
Inner Compass Initiative. As a complementary initiative, providers and caregivers interested in better supporting those seeking to taper or discontinue can connect here as well.