Management of mental health in Australia: A critical role for herbalists and naturopaths

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine, 2016, 28, (3), pp. 69-72
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Mental health problems are highly prevalent in Australia, with one in five Australian adults experiencing a common mental disorder in the previous 12 months. Many people with mental health problems use complementary medicines, including herbal medicines; however, relatively few of these people consult with herbal medicine practitioners. While naturopaths and herbalists are not integrated within the mental health care system, they have the potential to play an important role in the treatment and prevention of mental illness; however, there are a number of barriers to achieving this. This article outlines the prevalence of common mental illness in Australia, herbal medicine use for mental health, the current mental health care system in Australia, the role of herbal medicine practitioners in managing mental health, the barriers for herbal medicine practitioners to effectively manage mental health, and proposes a way forward to ensure people with mental illness can have access to quality mental health care provided by Western herbalists and naturopaths.
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