The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 3

Episode 3

S3E3 – Sustainable Healing Through Functional Medicine with Kirkland Newman

Kirkland Newman is a London-based journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist who struggled with her diagnosis of postpartum depression. While navigating through panic attacks & anxiety, she found her path to self-recovery within integrative medicine. As a result of her discoveries, Kirkland founded MindHealth360, a website that provides free resources on integrative mental health and functional medicine, and its corresponding interview show, The MindHealth360 Show.

In this episode Kirkland shares how finding functional medicine after the birth of her children completely changed the state of her health and functioned as the turning point that led to her founding MindHealth360. You’ll learn about the gap that exists between mental health practitioners and other medical professionals, and why such a gap exists in a world with so many medical advancements. Kirkland discusses this gap in depth, and how integrative mental health could be integral in closing it.

For functional health resources, and The MindHealth360 Show, click here.

For the latest in functional medicine and integrative mental health, follow MindHealth360 on Instagram and Facebook.

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About our Guest

Kirkland Newman is an anglo-american journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, specializing in integrative mental health. She founded and runs the successful integrative mental health website, MindHealth360, which provides free information and resources on integrative mental health and functional medicine psychiatry to those suffering from mental health issues, their friends, family and health practitioners. She also founded and hosts The MindHealth360 Show, which interviews leading integrative mental health practitioners from around the world.

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Podcast Transcript

Michael Roesslein:

And we’re live. I am here with this episode with my friend, Kirkland Newman. How are you?

Kirkland Newman:

I’m fine, Mike. How are you?

Michael Roesslein:

I’m good, I’m good. We’re were just, before we went on air, sharing our mess of the last however many months or years and commiserating on that so I think a lot of people out there can related in that the last couple years have been strange at best and extremely challenging, especially from the mental health side of things for pretty much everyone, whether they realize it or not. And before we get into that, I just want to do a little intro and then we can jump into mental health and probably talk a little bit about the last couple years and how this is impacting people. 

But, for those who are unfamiliar with your show and your site and your work, you are a journalist, entrepreneur, philanthropist who specializes in integrative mental health. Kirkland founded and runs the successful integrative mental health website, MindHealth360, which provides free information and resources on integrative mental health and functional medicine psychiatry to those suffering from mental health issues, their friends, family, and health practitioners. She also founded and hosts the MindHealth360 show which is great, and interviews leading integrative mental health practitioners from around the world. 

And, I have to say, when I was in a really rough spot a few years ago, that I made it through a pretty serious period suicidal depression and anxiety and freeze and brain fog and all of that. I had four different people who didn’t know each other recommend that I go to your site and listen to your podcasts. It was Dr. Kat Toups that actually introduced us and that’s how I meet pretty much all cool people these days. But before she actually introduced us, I was sent your way by a whole bunch of people and your show is a great resource so thank you for creating that.

Kirkland Newman:

Thank you. And certainly the work you do is amazing as well like your webinars and your summits are so incredible and Kat, who is my go-to person for everything, Dr. Kat Toups, always says to me, she’s like, “He has the best summits and they’re so detailed and so information-rich, and they’re amazing.” So well done, you.

Michael Roesslein:

Thank you. And Kat’s the one who knows everybody and seems to have multiple lives that she lives and I don’t know how she does everything that she does or has the time to do it but yeah, she has been an incredible resource, not only for information but she’s connected me to so many people and cool resources and things like that. So Kat, if you’re listening to this, thank you.

Today your site and your show is focused on an integrative approach or functional approach to mental health so that’s where we should probably focus the conversation today although, based on our earlier conversations, there’s probably a lot of things we could talk about but let’s focus on that and just, I guess, our audience is pretty familiar with the term function medicine or integrative health, but maybe not in regards to mental health. I think the mental health field is a little bit behind when it comes to compared to the chronic disease world or the chronic pain world, autoimmune conditions, and things like that. 

Functional medicine has made a bit more of an inroads there it seems and it’s a little bit more prevalent and widespread. Whereas in the mental health field, we’re talking psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, it hasn’t really gotten too far in there yet, it seems to me. Is that accurate?

Kirkland Newman:

I think it is and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to start this resource was because there was a huge gap in the market and when I started the resourced after I had postpartum depression with both my children. So my children, who are now 16 and 13, after each one I had pretty bad postpartum depression, especially the second one. I was put on antidepressants. I was put on sleeping pills. I was given CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. And I have to say, I had such a bad reaction to my antidepressants, and to the sleeping pills, and yet I was given no alternative. 

And one of the things that really frustrated me is that I saw five different doctors, two psychiatrists, one obstetrician, one GP, one endocrinologist, and I’m sure I saw a number of other people as well. And not one of them ever tested any of my biochemical functions so they’d ask me my symptoms and say, “Well, how are you feeling,” or, “How are you sleeping,” or whatever. And, of course, that’s important but not one of them ever said, “Let’s do a thyroid test. Let’s look at your hormones postpartum. Let’s look at your omega-3 levels. Let’s look at your vitamin B.” Not one. 

And I was really stuck because my options were basically talk therapy and antidepressants. I didn’t want to be on antidepressants but I ended up taking them because I was so desperate. And I had a very bad reaction to them in the sense that I got stuck on them. I couldn’t get off these antidepressants. And I was on them for six months and I gradually weaned myself off by the skin of my teeth. My psychiatrist didn’t want me to come off and I kept saying, “Well, I’ve never been on antidepressants before. Why am I on them now?” And she said, “Well, you’ll be on them indefinitely.” 

And to me this just did not make sense. And so I went on my own journey of weaning off my antidepressants with huge rebound insomnia, rebound panic attacks, which I’d say it took me about two-and-a-half to three years to then regulate my own nervous system whereby I wasn’t having panic attacks and I wasn’t having insomnia. And, in fact, these antidepressants and coming off them had made all those symptoms much, much worse. And so it took me a long time after that, not only to regulate my own physiology but also to figure out what was actually happening, what was going on. 

And I discovered all these, you can call them alternative… I won’t call them alternative, but I discovered functional medicine. I live in London but that was an American phenomenon. And, in fact, it took me to Belgium. I went to Belgium to see Thierry Hertoghe who’s the hormone sort of maverick. And I worked with Dr. Sara Gottfried in San Francisco and I discovered these people who were in this world of functional medicine. And to me, this opened my eyes because I thought, “Oh my goodness, this is incredible. Why has no one told me about this? Why do I not know about this? 

Why was the go-to reaction for me antidepressants and sleeping pills and a bit of CBT and nobody told me about the fact that actually I have a hormone imbalance?” I have heavy metal toxicity. I have a gluten intolerance. I have very bad gut dysbiosis. And, in fact, I have adrenal burnout. It really had very little to do with postpartum depression but I’d had a series of events in my life leading up to having my kids which tipped me over the edge, essentially. And so I had very high cortisol. Had very low DHEA. I had very pronounced imbalances which I was then able to discover and work through with nutritionists, with functional medicine doctors. 

But it took me three years and I had to go on my own journey. And I realized there was this huge gap in the market, that people needed to know about this, that people needed to know that there was a thing called functional medicine that looks at the root cause of what’s causing the imbalances in your mood and that there was a root cause explanation. 

And for me this was fairly obvious because I’d never really had… I’d suffered from anxiety before but I’d never had major depression until I had my kids. And so to me okay, there was the lifestyle, the fact of having kids, which changes your life completely, but there was definitely something biochemical about the whole thing. 

And so, to come back to your question because I’ve rambled a little bit, I discovered that really there was a real gap in the market, that people didn’t know about functional medicine, they didn’t know about integrative mental health. And I felt that we were really in the dark ages when it came to mental health, in the middle ages where you’re offered an antidepressant, a sleeping pill, and some cognitive behavioral therapy, if you’re lucky. 

And the CBT helped to an extent but I now know so much more about different therapies, somatic therapies, nervous system therapies, which I think are so much more effective when it comes to regulating the nervous system, and when it comes to dealing with childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences, which often rear their heads when you have kids, for instance, for the first time. And so I wanted to create this resource because I wanted other people not to have to go through what I had to go through which was three years of spending time, money, I went all over the place. 

I went to France. I went to Belgium. I went to San Francisco. I went to Atlanta, Georgia. I went to all these different places, Chicago, to try and find solutions to my mental health problems. And I found them but it took me a long time. It took me a lot of money, a lot of effort, and I wanted to distill all that learning in this website, MindHealth360, so that other people don’t have to go through what I went through. And then the idea of a show started as well because there are so many wonderful leading lights out there of whom Kat Toups, for instance, who I always call the godmother of functional medicine. 

But there’s some other incredible people out there doing fantastic things in functional medicine and it’s about giving them a voice and bringing them to a more mainstream audience so that people can take that shortcut and not have to learn the hard way like I did about functional medicine for mental health. 

And just to finally circle back to your question, I think, as you say very rightly, functional medicine is much more prevalent in terms of chronic disease, whether it’s cancer or diabetes or autoimmune conditions, and less so when it comes to mental health. People don’t necessarily think, “Oh, mental health has a fix through functional medicine.” 

But to me, mental health is one of the most important areas that lends itself well to functional medicine and root cause diagnosis and treatment, because to me that’s really the essence of functional medicine is that you’re looking at the root cause of disease and you’re providing treatments of those root causes. And we’re so told that depression and anxiety that we don’t know what causes them. Well actually, we do know what causes them and it’s not always the same thing. It’s personal on a case-by-case basis, but we can figure out exactly what is causing your depression or your anxiety. 

And it’s usually not one thing. It’s going to be a basket of different things. It could be toxicity like mold toxicity. It could be nutritional imbalances. It could be hormone imbalances. It could be childhood trauma. And the key, the fascinating thing to me about functional medicine for mental health, is that you’re a detective trying to put together all the things that are impacting your mental health that are causing these mental health symptoms. And it can be done. 

And to me it’s absolutely the new frontier of mental health and it needs to be mainstream because it’s the one way that you can sustainably fix people’s mental health and that’s not an over promise. I’ve seen functional medicine fix people’s mental health. Instead of having people for years and years and their whole life on an antidepressant or a sleeping pill, you can actually fix people’s mental health problems.

Michael Roesslein:

Thank you for sharing all that story. And I found that it’s pretty common that people who create things like resources and shows and books and practices and tools and resources, nine times out of 10 it’s out of necessity, and it’s out of their own experience. And it’s like, “I just did all this research to figure out all this stuff for myself, what do I do with this information?” And it seems that there’s a certain type of person who immediately their brain flips and says, “Well, I have to put this out for everybody else.” 

Because the learning curve is steep, especially in you coming from the UK, you mentioned when you first started your journey the functional medicine was pretty much an American phenomenon and now it’s more so in Europe that it was in other parts of the world, but it’s still much more difficult to access over on this side than it is over there. And resources like this can be extremely helpful for individuals who somebody told you. You had no idea that this was even a thing and somebody told you and now your show and your site have been that somebody for a lot of people. 

Like I said, four people sent me to it when I was really struggling. And they said, “I know you probably know a lot of this stuff but there might be things on there you don’t know.” And everything is free too. You have a load of content there and the show itself is one aspect of it, but it’s an incredible resource. And it’s unfortunate that we have to go through the things that we go through to figure out what we figure out in order to create the platform of the show or the gift or the product or the thing that people create out of their own suffering. But it’s always beautiful to see that something does come out of it. 

And regarding there’s a lot to unpack in your story and what you shared, but what timeline are we looking at? When did you first start the website and when was your two to three-year journey with learning about functional medicine and integrative health with mental health focus? How long ago was this?

Kirkland Newman:

It was actually in 2010-2011. That’s when I had my postpartum depression. And I would say that I started to figure things out in 2011-2012. There’s a wonderful conference called IMMH, Integrative Medicine for Mental Health, and they do a very good job. Every year they have a conference on mental health, integrative medicine for mental health, and there was one in 2012 in Chicago which I went to. And that was my first foray into this stuff. And ironically, I have to mention this, it’s slight embarrassing, but somebody gave me a book by Suzanne Somers, of all people, called Breakthrough. 

And she’s the one who talked about Thierry Hertoghe and hormones and your circadian rhythms. And so I got on a train and went to see this guy. There was a lot of that, a lot of running around and trying to figure things out for the next three years. Then what I really wanted to do was I had the idea of this website in my mind but I thought I had to go back and do a master’s in science journalism first because I wanted to do a movie about mental health and the way it’s done in the West, essentially. And I ended up working for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism here on Z-drugs, so zopiclone and zolpidem. 

And I was at one point I thought, “Well, instead of pursuing the bad guys and pursuing the pharmaceuticals and trying to deconstruct what they’re doing, let’s put together a resource that’s more positive.” So that’s when I started to work in the background since 2012 but then I launched the website in 2018 and I did a soft launch in 2018 which was very well received and I had people from around the world come and say to me, “Wow, this amazing,” and so I thought, “Okay, this is important. It’s having an impact.” Then I did a second soft launch in 2019 and then I launched the podcast in 2020, each time around March/February. 

And it’s just gradually grown and grown and grown. And now things are growing and I get a lot of emails from people saying, “Thank you so much. Can you give us further resources?” And it’s exciting because I feel that things are shifting. And I also have a database of practitioners on there to help link you to the best practitioners. And they’re handpicked. They’re vetted by my research assistant, Laura, and she keeps a very close eye on who’s doing what around the world in integrative mental health. And so I think that’s a great resource because a lot of the time people just don’t know where to go for this type of thing. 

And since the whole COVID thing and the whole Zoom thing, you can see a doctor in California even if you’re in London. Or you can see somebody in Germany. There’s some good people in Germany. So I think it’s really important to have the right resources and to provide people with the right resources because, as you point out, in England we’re a little bit behind the curve. We’re getting there but we’re definitely behind the curve, especially when it comes to how advanced you guys are in America.

Michael Roesslein:

And your practitioners, I was on there this morning, there’s 500 of them so there’s a lot of options out there. And there wouldn’t have been 500 of them 10 years ago so it is definitely growing. And what I’ve noticed… I love resources like this that bridge the gap because I started in nutrition and fitness and the functional medicine side of supplements and physical health stuff. And the last few years I’ve transitioned more towards the mental and emotional and spiritual and energetic side of things like doing more somatic therapy and trauma work and energetic healing and things like that. 

And I notice that even in the functional medicine but definitely in conventional medicine, but even amongst functional medicine practitioners, there’s a big gap in their understanding of certain things from the other side like trauma and how things are stored in the body the non-physical aspects of some of this stuff. 

And then when I switch sides, I keep using the word sides but there really is no side to healing, but when I switched sides, I learned that amongst therapists and counselors and healers and people on that side, that there’s the same gap in understanding on how things like nutrition or labs or hormones or neurotransmitters or lifestyle or any of that affects the mental health and the emotional health of their clients. 

And both sides want to help the people but I notice that even the functional medicine people, a lot of them didn’t know how to address some of the things that you need somebody from the other side to look at and the people on the other side didn’t have any idea that, “Oh, maybe if I suggest to my client that they don’t eat fast food or go to bed at a reasonable time or get outside or go for walks or do whatever the thing is, is that the treatments that we’re doing for their depression or the therapy we’re doing is going to be more effective.” 

And so I’m also in the world of trying to mush these two things together and make them talk to each other and see each other. And when you scan through your list of guests on your show, you see people from both sides because I saw Stephen Porges on there who would be all the way on one talking about polyvagal and nervous system stuff. 

But then you have straight functional medicine people. Then I saw recently you interviewed Ameet who I actually interviewed last week as well who kind of bridges. He’s an MD that also know family constellations which would be completely on the other side. And so it’s going back to the roots of traditional healing in a sense because the healer didn’t used to be compartmentalized because in our culture now there’s the gastroenterologist and the neurologist and the endocrinologist and the rheumatologist and everybody has this super narrow focus. 

I’ve done some studying of traditional healing and traditional healing cultures and the healer used to be the doctor and the therapist and the spiritual teacher and that encompasses all aspects of healing versus just one. And so I feel like your platform bridges a lot of areas that I think is essential. I think whether someone’s dealing with a physical health condition that’s not producing mental health symptoms, there’s going to be a component on the other side as well. I’m sorry, did you want to say something to that?

Kirkland Newman:

Yeah. No, I’m just in such agreement with what you’re saying and it’s so interesting because one of my biggest bugbears and one of my biggest passions in life is to bridge these two worlds. And it’s not just two worlds, it’s three or four worlds. And one of my biggest criticisms really of most practitioners is that they’re too siloed. And I mean, God know, in mainstream medicine we know they’re too siloed but even in the world of integrative mental health, they can get too siloed as well. 

So it’s interesting because a straight functional medicine doctor may not be well versed in the whole nervous system and in trauma, as you say, and so they get obsessed with is it Lyme disease or is it mold toxicity or is it nutritional deficiency. So they really hone in on the biochemical but often the biochemical is a downstream result from childhood trauma or from nervous system dysregulation or from adverse childhood experience. And it’s fascinating because, in fact, my boyfriend runs a trauma clinic called Khiron Clinics and one of the things I’m always… 

And they do fantastic work. They’re the first polyvagal-informed clinic, in fact, in the world. And he works closely with Stephen and the polyvagal theory. But what we’re trying to do now is to bring in a functional medicine nutritionist to try and add that dimension because they could have somebody in there and you could do as much therapy as you want but if there’s a B12 imbalance or zinc imbalance or if there’s a high copper-low zinc or if there’s some sort of blaring nutritional deficiency, you can do as much therapy as you want but the person will have a really hard time getting well essentially. 

And so this is my bugbear is, how do you make sure that all these centers and all these doctors and all these practitioners are well versed in all these modalities and they cover all the bases? They cover the biochemicals. They can look at the nutritional and the hormones and the toxicity and the inflammation and the infections, but they’re also well versed in the psychospiritual. And so they’re well versed in nervous system and trauma and adverse childhood experiences and somatic healing, EMDR, et cetera. And, let’s not forget, because I always talk about the three areas, the lifestyle/behavioral because that’s also key. 

A poor lifestyle, poor behavioral patterns, poor life habits can then lead to biochemical imbalances. And so it’s really important to look at all three areas. And I think too few practitioners, clinics, people, even in the world of integrative mental health or functional medicine, don’t encompass that 360 approach, partly because it’s hard to do. It’s hard to cover all those bases. It’s hard to be so well versed in all those areas but it’s vital, I think, for sustainable healing.

Michael Roesslein:

Absolutely agree, and I think that that’s why a lot of people on either side, whether it’s somebody suffering from a chronic illness of some kind and they’ve tried the supplements and they’ve tried the protocols and they’ve done the diet and they’ve done the lifestyle changes, and the needle has moved but they still have reoccurring symptoms or relapses or regressions or whatever, you need to look at the other side. You need to look at the trauma, at the nervous system, at these kind of things that even intergenerational stuff which Ameet probably talked about recently. 

But you need to look over there and I think that compared to where it was at a few years ago, trauma’s the biggest buzzword in functional medicine right now so I’m pretty sure that things are turning a corner on that side. And then, if you’re a therapist or a counselor out there, or you’re somebody who’s struggled with a lot of mental health issues, and you’ve only seen conventional talk therapists, or you’ve only done even somatic therapy which is great, or the family constellation.

All that stuff is wonderful but if you’ve done a lot of that and it’s moved the needle but you haven’t seen the results or you still are struggling with some unexplained anxiety or depression, you got to talk to somebody on the other side. And nobody’s going to be a world-class expert in all of these things across the board but I think almost forcing them to have networks of people that training them enough so that they identify when it’s necessary to bring in somebody who specializes in something else. They don’t have to know how to do it. You don’t have to know. 

If you have a practitioner out there, a health practitioner, you don’t need to learn how to do somatic therapy or trauma release stuff or any of those things. You just need to be able to identify the people who need it and then have a network to refer them to. And the platform I’ve been involved with building for the last few years, we’re doing something similar to what you’ve created with your practitioner database there, and the effort was to force that marriage, to bring the people together and put them in the same room and give each side enough education so that they can identify when that’s necessary and to really understand it. 

Therapists and counselors who don’t know anything about nutrition and functional medicine, if you teach that to them… If you tell them, “Hey, did you know that a copper imbalance can present with anxiety?” Or if your patient or client has a copper IUD and they’re present with these symptoms, there’s a chance that this is a copper [inaudible 00:29:26]. It’s not willful ignorance. It’s that nobody’s ever told them these things and, of course, they want to help people. And my mother-in-law actually is a therapist and a art therapist and some other types of therapy, and she’s been a therapist for 30 years. 

And when I started dating my now wife and her mom started listening to our webinars and our stuff, she didn’t know any of this stuff at all, none of it, not even the basics, and was like, “What do you mean? If I don’t eat this does it change my mood?” But then she ran into scope of practice issues and she wasn’t allowed with her license to talk about nutrition and so that’s a whole nother thing in the system that gets to change. But she was blown away and immediately was like, “Can I share your website with my clients because they need to learn these things?” I’m like, “Yes, please do, because their outcomes will improve.” 

And so I really do see a lot of synergy with what we’ve been trying to do and what you’ve created and the more the merrier. The more people that are doing this stuff and the more people into boosting the interwoven nature of physical disease and mental health, and biochemistry with trauma with hormones with nutrient deficiencies with intergenerational things, with energy, with whatever. It’s going to help more people feel better faster.

Kirkland Newman:

I agree. And one of my big pet peeves is a closed mindedness in the traditional mainstream psychiatry world. I think it’s all very well if you say, “Okay, there’s a whole world out there that I don’t know and I can get help from my friends or I can have a network where I can call on a trauma person or a hormone person.” But there’s a sort of arrogance that comes with a lot of psychiatry, especially I think in the UK, but probably in the US as well where it’s their way or the highway, and I experience this firsthand. And I find this quite frustrating because people are lost and they’re struggling and they need help. 

And often they’re told, “Well, all this stuff is snake oil and nutrition really doesn’t have an impact on your moods and just take your pills.” And there is a little bit of that going on. Now there are some fantastic psychiatrists who are very forward thinking and who are not at all of that ilk. I think they’re the younger generation and that’s coming but I think it’s really important… My dream would be that you go into a psychiatrist’s office and you’re offered a stool test or you’re offered a blood test or you’re offered a urine test to test your hormones and to test your nutritional levels, et cetera. 

And I think that will be the future. I really do believe that one day that will be what happens in the psychiatrist’s office, that you will have the biochemical aspects be tested. But at the moment too many times there’s a sort of closed mindedness about okay, just take your pills, take your antidepressants. We don’t know what’s causing your problems and it has nothing to do with what you’re eating. It has nothing to do with… The frustrating thing is there is enough research out there now on nutritional psychiatry-

Michael Roesslein:

There’s a ton of it.

Kirkland Newman:

… on the gut-brain connection. There’s a ton of research.

Michael Roesslein:

Right.

Kirkland Newman:

But, I think part of the problem is it’s still not taught enough in medical school. Nutrition is still a very short shrift topic when it comes to medical school and a lot of the research is kept very separate from practice for some reason, especially when it comes to the gut-brain connection. Partly because I interviewed a wonderful gastroenterologist called Emeran Mayer and he was saying even though there are thousands and thousands and thousands of papers on the gut-brain connection, a lot of it is animal studies and so they haven’t done them in human studies. 

And so there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the research even though the research is there but it’s not necessarily there in the way that we want it to be there and the way it should be there in humans, yet. And so I think there’s a little bit of a cliff in terms of timing and the research catch up to the practice, and the right type of research catching up to the practice. But it’s my firm belief that in 10 years things will be completely different in the world of psychiatry, and psychiatry will have come much more towards an integrative functional medicine way of doing things because it’s the only way to sustainably heal people. 

It’s that simple, frankly. And to me it’s just a matter of time and we’re the pioneers pointing this out. And there are a lot of pioneers practicing this but still it’s a relatively small number compared to the mainstream, essentially.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. I think I live in a little bit of a bubble and I don’t engage much with psychiatrists, it’s mostly counselors or therapists, psychology, other types of coaches and healers and practitioners. With our work we haven’t even begun trying to crack that barrier. And I’ve also never seen a psychiatrist. Even when I was struggling, I went to therapists and counselors. I didn’t go see a psychiatrist at any point. So I’m sure as a child I would’ve been put on ADD medication and stimulants. And then for most of my adult life I would’ve been given benzodiazepines or some sort of SSRIs alternating or both or who knows for most of my adult life. 

And I never did it. I never went. I never talked to any of them. I almost considered it three or four years ago when I was… And I wasn’t knocking it. Sometimes the medication saved people’s lives so I’m not saying that medications are always bad. I’m not saying always avoid medications. I’m just speaking from my own experiences. I have very, very little experience either personally or even with the platforms we’re creating, dealing with psychiatrists specifically. And for those out there who don’t know the difference, psychiatrists has prescription rights. 

They are the MDs of the mental health world where psychologists more study the mind and psychology and therapists and counselors can be psychiatrists, can be MDs, but often times, at least in my experience, are more like LMFT in the US or some other licensure. So that even in itself, probably somebody could do a show just breaking down who’s what within the mental health world and what the professions and the titles are because when we say psychiatrists some people might just lump that in with everybody who deals with mental health things. Psychiatrists are those doctors with prescription rights who work with mental health. 

And I guess they’d probably be the last ones to move in a more integrative way too because they’re also receiving the same education that most conventional MDs are and most of that can be traced back to drug companies. And so I think the younger generation of doctors, and I would guess psychiatrists as well, are probably more to different things and the old guard is still hanging on to what they were taught in school 35 years ago. And there’s a natural evolution that happens there that takes its course and things change but usually kicking and screaming and holding onto their previous ways.

Kirkland Newman:

I think that’s true. And some my biggest heroes are psychiatrists who have incorporated a more integrative approach like Dr. Kat Toups who is a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Achina Stein, Dr. Mary Ackerley. These are very, very accomplished, very credible, very reputable, extremely highly educated psychiatrists, and yet they have taken the extra trouble of getting functional medicine certified as well and doing a whole nother certification to add that whole integrative dimension to their bow. 

And to me they’re the most incredible healers because they have access to the entire toolbox. They can prescribe SSRIs if necessary, or benzos if necessary, or whatever antipsychotic if necessary. But that’s not necessarily their go-to and so they’ll use drugs more as a symptom stabilizer while they try to get to the root cause using functional medicine. And to me that’s the most powerful combination is they have the ability to do that, and they have the credibility to do that. Because there’s a bit of snobbery also, essentially in the UK. Are you a psychiatrist or an MD? And if you are, great, then you’re gold. 

If you’re not, if you’re a therapist or a counselor then you have less sway, you’re less credible. And it shouldn’t be that way but unfortunately it’s the way it is. And so hats off to the psychiatrists who are functional medicine doctors who are pioneering this because it really is a sort of wild west and it’s a pioneering thing that they’re doing. 

And to me it’s the future of psychiatry and it’s really important, and I wish more people… And I think you’re right. I think the younger generation more people are going into that direction. And I certainly know a few in the UK who are training in functional medicine. Dr. Pratima Singh is one of them. She’s fantastic but she’s one of the only ones. But hopefully there will be more soon.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, I think there will be. And I didn’t mean to throw an entire profession under the bus there and I know a few of those people as well. So I’ve interviewed Dr. Stein as well, probably introduced by Kat since everyone I know I get introduced by Kat. But given their access and there’s certain things that we almost need psychiatrists to be the trailblazers with in order to make the big shifts in the system because the credential and the clout and the credibility and the connections within the system, they’re within the insurance situation in this country, or in the US I keep forgetting I’m not there anymore. 

But they fall within the insurance system and everything else. And then in countries like the UK, or here in Italy, they’re the ones within the medical system too. They’re the ones within the government-run health system and so they need to push for the changes of how things are done and what’s covered from within the system. Otherwise the system doesn’t change and then the only care that most people can get or afford, which is included in their health program, is the conventional standard of care with the drugs and no sort of integrative health. And that’s what a lot of people probably can relate to who are listening to this either in Europe or Canada. 

In the US you’re just used to your insurance company saying no to everything. But outside of there the changes of the system need to come from those within the system and the psychiatrists in this example are the ones within the system just like the MDs on the functional medicine side are the ones within the system. It’s not going to be a bunch of naturopaths that change the National Health System or the insurance system in the US, it’s going to be MDs who do it.

Kirkland Newman:

It is. It is, I agree although is would also say one of my big bugbears also is making sure that people, the end user, demand better care. And that’s why I think programs like what you’re offering and what I’m offering are so important because they are platforms to educate the consumer and the end user, and to empower the end user and say there is another way. 

Go to your doctor and ask for this other way and I think it’s by having a ground swell of patients and their friends and their family saying, “Hey, we want better care and we want this type of care,” and that’s also going to shift the system because it’s going to put pressure on the system, on doctors, on insurance companies to provide this type of health. Because I think it’s becoming more and more obvious that this is the only way really for sustainable healing to happen and I think people are becoming more and more educated about this. And they’re demanding better care from their doctors and I think that’s really important too.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s for sure. And I know we’re almost out of time. I want to just hit before we leave, where do people go to check out your site and what are they going to find there? There’s the shop. There’s a practitioner listing. What else are they going to find there? I want to make sure that we actually hit all the bases on that instead of us just going back and forth on agreeing rants. So just drop all the info, please.

Kirkland Newman:

Thanks so much, Michael. It’s www.MindHealth360.com and there are various different parts. I hope I can ever remember the parts but basically you can type in your symptoms and see what sort of symptoms you might have. And then there’s a list of possible contributors so things that might be contributing to your symptoms that you may have never thought of like inflammation, infections, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, et cetera. And then there’s a number of solutions so there are three sections. And then you can go to the solutions depending on what you think might be contributing to your mental health.

Then there are a whole number of solutions that you can explore. There is also the podcast shows and the MindHealth360 show. There’s the database of practitioners so if you want to work with an integrative functional medicine practitioner you can type in. It’s quite well organized. You can look by country, by discipline, by symptom, et cetera. There’s some vlogs, some inspiration. There are some good movies on there, quotes. 

And so it really is a sort of encyclopedia of integrative mental health, and a good resource to start, really, about thinking about, okay, what might be contributing to my mental health that I haven’t thought of, and how can I get help either from doing my own research, a self-help type thing, or being put in touch with a fantastic practitioner who can help me?”

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, it’s like a one-stop shop. There’s tons of education. There are a lot of excellent episodes of the show. There’s the whole solution section, the resources. There’s a lot of stuff there. It’s pretty much whatever you’re going to look for you’re going to find. And I’m just amazed you put together this many functional medicine practitioners in once place. I’ve been scrolling through it and I personally know at least, I don’t know, 30 of them that I’ve seen. And they’re all over the place. I’m seeing some in the UK, some in the US, all over the US There’s one in Naperville. I used to live in that town in Illinois. And then Titus I see. 

So yeah, there’s all kinds of people in here and it’s a great resource. The show’s good. I have enjoyed the episodes that I listened to quite a bit. And you have excellent guests who I may have to fish for at some point. And yeah, just thank you so much for turning your own experience and struggles into a resource that’s helped so many people, and will continue to help so many people because, which we didn’t get into, our collective mental health, that situation has not gotten any easier the last couple of years so we need more resources like this and places for practitioners to be seen for what they’re doing as well as helping the individuals who need them to find them. 

So, thank you so much and I’d love to connect again and we can do some more rants and some more statements on how we wish things were.

Kirkland Newman:

Well, Michael, thank you so much. You are a powerhouse in the world of mental health and the world of functional medicine. So, well done. Keep up the great work and I really look forward to collaborating and connecting again. You’re great.

Michael Roesslein:

Thank you.

Kirkland Newman:

Thank you.