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Men's Mental Health

Treating Mental Illness Requires A Holistic Approach

Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Hae

A psychiatrist explains that treating patients who are struggling with mental health issues requires a holistic approach.


Pavan Prasad

Psychiatrist, Clarity Clinic

Please explain the benefits of the holistic approach you take in treating your patients.

I combine therapy and psychiatry with a mindfulness-based approach. This is done to treatment and encourage patients to add to their coping skills and self-care practices. That includes resources for good sleep hygiene, meditation, nutrition and exercise (even yoga). I came into this field because I felt that a more patient-centered approach could be implemented; that hasn’t appeared to be executed consistently in the community. It was important to me to be able to offer a positive solution to this issue.

Can you elaborate on the approach and effectiveness in treating the full person, rather than just symptoms?

I believe in the positive impact of an integrated patient-centered health care model that includes more than just assessing symptoms. It’s one that allows the patient to be an active participant in their care. I feel that this integrated model that we have at Clarity Clinic allows for collaboration and brings psychologists, psychiatrists and patients together to provide a higher level of care to treat the whole person.

Mental health is something that we all need to manage throughout our lifetime. What are some holistic coping mechanisms you recommend for people that are taking a mental health day?

This process is different for everyone and depends on the degree of symptoms experienced. It is important to have structure and balance in today’s modern world. With having to navigate high stress-job and all the demands of living in an urban environment like Chicago, one could argue people start with a disadvantage. Some important ways to strive for balance include:

  • Increasing self-care
  • Coping skills
  • Therapy
  • Medical intervention 

These are all important aspects in creating that balance.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue holistic therapy for the first time but is hesitant?

First of all, clients who feel hesitant to seek services need to know that they are not alone. Often clients that were hesitant to go to therapy at first later state that it was helpful to try it. The ability to share obstacles or difficulties with proper therapeutic support is a sign of strength. Most of us know we should take care of our bodies and workout regularly, eat healthy or go to the doctor when we are dealing with a physical injury or illness. I think that it should be the same with mental health. We need to be proactive and take the action steps necessary to take care of our mind as well. 

How do you hope to continue to use your clinic to raise awareness and break down the stigma surrounding mental illness?

As a team, we all participate in mental health organizations like the ACA/APA and others to make a collective difference above what we could do on our own. We also fund raise and participate in events like the NAMI walk, the Out of the Darkness Walk and other causes like Immerman Angels. 

What sets Clarity Clinic apart from other private practice clinics in the mental health field?

Clarity Clinic is unique in that we have therapy, psychiatry and psychological assessments all in one place. Clarity also accepts most insurance plans to allow for more patients to obtain services. Our patients have commented that some of the biggest things that set Clarity Clinic apart include the people that are welcoming and understanding. At Clarity Clinic, we want our patients to feel comfortable seeking treatment. Patients often state that we allow them to feel more relaxed here than in the typical sterile doctor’s office environment. We offer other clinic amenities to make life easier too, like online scheduling and tea. 

What’s one thing that sets you apart as a clinician?

I create treatment plans along with the individual that is seeking care. Overall, I just want people to be able to live their best life 

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