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Asia’s Mental Health Crisis: Are We Being Left Behind?

The stigma surrounding mental health issues still exists despite wider research, broader media coverage, and brave individuals speaking out to share their experiences. It’s a common problem the world over with no magic pill to pop that can fix it. However, there is a new strand of therapy emerging that’s backed by science and increasing in popularity. Here, Jonathan de Potter, of Behold Retreats shares his views on the global mental health crisis and how alternative therapies and plant-based medicine might help certain individuals heal.

“Mental health disorders now affect one in seven people (1.1bn globally, 500m in Asia), it’s difficult to say that our current forms of treatment are proving effective. Coronavirus is further exacerbating the mental health crisis, and we are in urgent need of new solutions. We are seeing record levels of anxiety, depression, and addictive disorders.

Clinical research in the US and Europe has proven plant-based medicine to be a safe and powerful modality for treatment. For the past two decades, research on the subject has been a priority for leading medical universities, for example at John Hopkins in the USA and Imperial College in the UK. Clinical research demonstrates lasting improvements in behaviour, cognition, and brain function, as reported by the individual and surrounding family and friends. Patients also report an increased feeling in social connectedness.

Michael Pollan’s 2018 book “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence” has played an important role in bringing the topic into the mainstream. Legal treatment options are already available in a number of locations globally – including Canada, California, Colorado, Portugal, Netherlands, and Central/South America. The industry is also attracting considerable investment, with further legalization initiatives underway across the globe.

“There are a number of fundamental challenges to address in Asia. Mental health and psychedelics are highly stigmatized in the region”: Jonathan de Potter.

Another challenge in Asia is access to quality mental health care – with just 2.6 psychiatrists per 100,000 persons. But with the right attention to the subject, I am optimistic that countries in Asia will move quickly to benefit from plant-based medicine. The good news is that because the mental health industry is so under-developed in the region, there is less industry entrenchment to the traditional forms of treatment. We can focus directly upon effective treatment modalities.

Interested to find out more? We strongly recommend you take the time to do your own research on the subject, and the medical universities listed above are a good place to start.”

Behold Retreats has been established to raise awareness, build community, and campaign for the therapeutic use of plant-based medicine. Behold Retreats also consults clients to help them find their way to high-quality legal treatment options.

Behold Retreats would like to connect with doctors, therapists, volunteers and relevant contacts who believe in our cause. We do not condone or facilitate any illegal activity. Contact

*Lead image by Harsha Poojari