Mental health and the 5-point NADA Protocol

Mental health and the 5-point NADA Protocol

Here comes your sneak-peek into our views as practitioners on both treating and living with mental health issues. Grab a cuppa-something and curl up with our powerful perspectives as we each navigate mental health!

Sara WardSo I had this conversation with my almost 9 year old the other day. I could see he was struggling with something and I knew I could help, but rather than just butting my nose in and telling him what to do and how to do it, we talked about 3 words in the English language that might be the hardest to string together, let alone say out loud! 

I need help.

I asked him if he knew what I do for a living, and he said ya, you help people, oh and stick needles in them. I said, yup, that about sums it up. So if you need me I’m here to help you too. Sure enough, in his own time he came to me and said those 3 words that put into motion great calmness and clarity in his little 8-year-old mind. We smiled and hugged. He was now armed with vocabulary to help him in his situation, strength in knowing I was holding space for him, and a roar of fierce independence that he can hold his own ground when things get tough. 

Whether it’s you sitting down in my chair or me visiting my health-care team, this is essentially what we are saying: “I need help.”

If we could strip away all the jargon, labels, and stigma around asking for help, I bet medicine would be much further ahead. 

Thanks to COVID, more people are talking about what their struggles look like. Hearing these stories cascades into healing when we realize the stories others tell are our stories too. Think of the healing that could happen if we knew we are never really alone and we don’t have to be everything to everyone all the time. 

You get to be you and simply ask for help!

Honouring how difficult it is for us to say these 3 words is a real fear in medicine. Honestly, I think this is what 90 percent of my patients long to say to me.

Today I implore you to show up at your next self-care visit and just say … I need help. See what happens. Watch empathy unfold right in front of you, watch the reciprocation between two humans. 

When you show up ready and willing to ask for help, you’re doing the real work. And you’re already halfway to healing generations past, present and future. 


Sharyn Turner

I’m a huge fan of tennis and of Naomi Osaka, who is an advocate for mental health awareness. I recently commented on her Instagram account: “our minds are part of our bodies — why don’t we treat them in the same manner?” If our body is tired or sore, we attend to it. WHY is it different for our minds? 

Just today I celebrated with a patient who, in the six weeks I’ve treated them, has made a remarkable regaining of their mental wellness. Their care is under the management of a government body (ahem, WorkSafe) who told them acupuncture treatment wouldn’t be covered because it’s not approved to help with mental health. I beg to differ, and I also beg for more research to be done. We spend so much on research of physical ailments and disease, can we do at least the same for mental ailments and disease?

I have personally experienced depression and anxiety, and I have personally experienced the shaming and “you’re weird”-ness that came with it. As a result of this pandemic, I’d say even the most robust of us have experienced a wavering level of mental wellness.

So here’s an insider sneak peak: I pretty much ALWAYS treat your mind no matter what you come in for 😉 Whether you need thought-calming, mood-boosting or anything in between, we’ll always treat you as a WHOLE being, mind AND body.

I wrote multiple drafts of this post because mental health is a challenge — it is experienced differently by everyone and is deeply personal. One version was a list of tips from mental health practitioners, but that felt too medical. One included my self-care but it felt too superficial. Of course, I love a candle, but dealing with our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, especially during a pandemic, requires more.

I see it and feel it every day at work; anxiety has been high, depression creeping in, mind racing, 3 a.m. wake-ups, lack of motivation, fatigue over constant health vigilance, rage over the state of the world, feeling numb, hopeless or irritable, low resilience, no energy, burnout. 

It is exhausting and it can feel isolating. 

But none of us is alone. I had a patient comment the other day that I really got where they were at, and I replied it’s because I am a mirror. I feel all the things too. My mental health is in flux too. I have good days and bad days too. But I feel lucky to do the work that I do, to be able to connect with people and allow folks the space to be heard and held. My work is a part of my self-care and I am grateful to be a part of yours.

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