'Junior Vitachieve' minerals and vitamins, England, 1991 (multivitamin)
'Junior Vitachieve' minerals and vitamins, England, 1991 (multivitamin) by Healthcrafts (Booker Nutritional Products) is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

Talking therapy and medication are the two main treatments for mental health conditions. However, there are other forms of treatments which exist that some suggest can work for mental health conditions.

These treatments have very little scientific evidence for their use. But, for those who struggle with their mental health – despite trying therapy and medication – the treatments outlined in this article may be worth trying.

Anyone that tries to engage in these treatments does so at their own risk. These may not be conventional treatments, though some may derive some benefit from them. We list 10 in total, but there are many potential treatments worth looking into.

File Photo: These therapies are different to the classic talking therapy and medication treatment options

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-Hydroxytryptophan (better known as 5-HTP), is something that is naturally produced by our bodies. It forms as part of the production of serotonin – which is one of the main chemicals in the brain that is responsible for mood.

5-HTP is often bought as a supplement, with the aim of treating conditions like Depression and Anxiety. Researchers are split on 5-HTP, with some studies finding it to be effective, whilst others have dismissed its use [1].

5-HTP is not immune from side effects, and headaches are common. It is also important to avoid taking 5-HTP if you have Bipolar Disorder – as 5-HTP has been shown as being capable of triggering a manic episode [2].

5-HTP is readily available, and can be bought at many high street stores and online. It is recommended that you exert caution when first taking 5-HTP. If you are already taking a medication, it is important to check with your GP about adding a new medicine, supplement or remedy.


One of the most common treatments that people are turning to is CBD Oil. CBD oil is a Cannabis-based medicine, which contains cannabidiol oil. CBD oil is available to buy over the counter from high street stores in the United Kingdom.

CBD oil contains only a small amount of THC – which is the part of cannabis (also known as weed or marijuana) that makes you “high”. Therefore, you do not need to think of CBD oil as being equal to, or the same as, addictive drugs.

CBD oil does have side effects. Those who have struggled with psychosis or conditions like Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder should not use CBD oil. It is also important to remember that CBD oil does come in different strengths.

Some people have found that CBD oil helps their anxiety. It is also commonly used for conditions like Depression, and even some trauma-focused conditions.

You should speak to your GP prior to taking CBD oil. This is especially important if you are already taking a psychotropic medicine, as CBD oil can interfere with such medications.

Herbal Remedies

A Herbal Remedy is any substance that can come from plants. The remedy can take many forms – such as liquids, creams, capsules and drinks. Herbal remedies can be purchased in high street stores and online.

There are a huge range of herbal remedies that exist. The intention is for them to treat conditions like depression and anxiety. Though they could also feasibly help other conditions too.

Most herbal remedies are relatively safe, but it is always worth exerting caution when using them. It is worth checking before using any to see if they interact with any existing medications you take.


Homeopathy involves the use of watered down natural substances – with the idea that it is capable of treating both physical and mental health problems.

Homeopathy intends to treat conditions like anxiety and depression. It is based on ideas developed in the 1700s by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann. A key element is the belief that a substance that causes symptoms can also help to remove the symptoms – when diluted.

The NHS used to offer some Homeopathy-based treatments, but due to the lack of scientific evidence for its use, they have since stopped. A large study found that Homeopathy was no more effective than placebos [3].

Homeopathy is normally safe, but side effects are possible. It is important to remember that any substance – regardless of how diluted it is – can cause problems.

File Photo: These alternative treatments can offer a different form of treatment for those who have struggled with other treatments


Meditation involves putting the human mind into a state of calmness. By meditating, a person will remain still – using it as a form of stress relief. Many find it helps them with their mental health.

Meditation is a key part of self-care for many people. They may find that it helps them to process harmful thoughts or past traumas in a positive way.

There shouldn’t be any side effects from meditation. However, for anyone that suffers from a Dissociative Disorder, it is advisable to avoid meditation, as it may make dissociation worse.


Mindfulness is similar to meditation – albeit with a stronger focus on noticing what is happening in the present. It has the intention of helping to improve self-awareness, and coping with difficult thoughts and feeling.

It is an excellent stress management tool, and many people also find it improves their self-esteem. Therefore, it can be useful for both Depression and Anxiety.

There shouldn’t be any side effects from mindfulness. However, as with meditation, it is probably best for someone suffering from a Dissociative Disorder to avoid mindfulness.

S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAMe)

S-Adenosyl-Methionine (better known as SAMe) is a naturally-occurring chemical that the body produces as part of the process of regulating serotonin, melatonin and dopamine levels. This helps with mood regulation.

SAMe is usually taken as a supplement, with the intention of helping with Depression or Anxiety. SAMe does seem to potentially have a positive impact on depression and anxiety, but it appears unsafe for those with Bipolar Disorder [4]. No conclusions have been made though.

SAMe can be purchased at high street stores and online. It is important to only ever purchase SAMe from reputable sellers. Always proceed with caution. Side effects can include dry mouth, dizziness and stomach pains.

It is worth discussing SAMe with your GP. It can interact with existing medications, so it is important to ask your GP before starting use of SAMe.

Spiritual, Religious and Divine Healing

Spiritual, religious and divine healing is a broad range of practices that involve the idea of using faith, belief and religion in a way that can result in benefits to mental health.

There is little scientific evidence to suggest that any form of supernatural healing is possible. But it is also hard for such cases to be tracked.

There will rarely be side effects, but it is important to be careful when following any form of mental health treatment. In some cases, these areas may actually worsen mental health.

However, it is important to say that there have been many documented cases where people have attributed their recovery or improved mental health to a higher power [5]. It would be foolish to say that there is no such thing as divine healing or religious healing.

At the very least, many people find that religion helps with their general wellbeing. For some, turning to God at their lowest moment can bring about a remarkable change. Faith is important, though everyone will have different experiences and thoughts on this.

Many people find that spiritual help is key in mental health

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is one of the most common remedies that people try as an alternative to antidepressants. Its botanical name is Hypericum Perforatum, and many people will see it sold as “Hypericum” in high street stores.

The different ingredients in St. John’s Wort appear to have an impact on mood. Studies do show that St. John’s Wort can be effective in some cases of Depression and Anxiety – especially when antidepressants have not worked [6].

It is very important to state that St. John’s Wort should not be taken alongside psychotropic medicines like antidepressants. Because St. John’s Wort is so common, many people do not realise it can’t be taken alongside antidepressants.

St. John’s Wort is not immune from side effects. These include nausea, headaches, dry mouth and tiredness. There is also some evidence that suggests St. John’s Wort can worsen conditions like Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia [7].

St. John’s Wort is available to purchase in stores without a prescription. However, it is important that if you are considering taking St. John’s Wort, that you consult your GP about it beforehand.


Yoga is an exercise and spiritual practice that involves a person attempting to increase their self-awareness, whilst creating a union between body, mind and spirit.

Yoga can help many people with their mental health. Some people will do yoga in their own time, while others will do it in a class or alongside others.

There shouldn’t be any side effects from yoga. Yoga is highly unlikely to ever solve mental health problems, but it can certainly be helpful.


Mental health conditions can cause many problems for a person’s life. When traditional treatments like therapy and mainstream medicines do not work, it is understandable that people will turn to alternative treatments.

The alternative treatments above do offer an alternative to therapy and medications. But it is important to always discuss any remedies or supplements that you are considering taking with your Doctor.

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If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.


[1] Maffei, M. E. (2021). 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22 (1). p181.

[2] Olsufka, W., & Abraham, M-A. (2017). Treatment-emergent hypomania possibly associated with over-the-counter supplements. The Mental Health Clinician. 7 (4): p160-163.

[3] NHS England. (2017). Clinical evidence for homeopathy. Available: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/sps-homeopathy.pdf. Last accessed: 27th April 2022.

[4] Carpenter, D. J. (2011). St. John’s wort and S-adenosyl methionine as “natural” alternatives to conventional antidepressants in the era of the suicidality boxed warning: what is the evidence for clinically relevant benefit?. Alternative Medicine Review. 16 (1): p17-39.

[5] Belcher, J. R., & Hall, S. M. (2001). Healing and Psychotherapy: The Pentecostal Tradition. Pastoral Psychology. 50: p63-75.

[6] Ng, Q. X., Venkatanarayanan, N., & Ho, C. Y. X. (2017). Clinical use of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) in depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders. 210: p211-221.

[7] Nierenberg, A. A., Burt, T., Matthews, J., & Weiss, A. P. (1999). Mania associated with St. John’s wort. Biological Psychiatry. 46 (12): p1707-1708.