Alternatives to Medication

Different things work for different people. Below is a range of comprehensive alternative treatments that Justice Action strongly believes can be more effective than forced medication for people with mental health issues. 


To balance the body’s energy system. Depression may lead to suicidal tendencies and liver issues. This form of Chinese medicine – acupuncture would help these problems. There is one acupuncture point Pericardium 6 which when needled can change a person’s mental state from negative to positive.


To say over and over lovely, positive self-talk compliments,

e.g. “I am special too”, “The universe loves me”, and “I am wonderful”.


There are a number of essential oils that help with balancing the body’s energy, mind; emotions and spirit.

Arts and Crafts

Build confidence. Having a hobby of making things can instil a sense of pride, self-worth and accomplishment.

Australian Bush Flower and Bach Flower Essences

A subtle, simple and powerful way to shift old energy patterns and transforms mental/emotional/physical states in need of transformation. This method is also very inexpensive.


Reading books is great way to pass the time and keep your brain trained. Self-help books can offer ways to improve your thinking and attitude. Fiction books can offer a temporary escape from your problems. Reading other texts like poetry, philosophy and plays can also be very mentally and intellectually stimulating.


Hearing Voices groups, and Living Skills groups. Having regular social interaction in the form of centre or a group can be great mental support.


Laughter Club; “Laughter is the best medicine.” Toastmasters Club: express self. Such clubs can help build confidence and give you a place to meet and connect with others in a comfortable setting.

Developing Financial Responsibility (DFR)

For those whose mental illness or mental disorder arises from stresses associated with money; money mismanagement disorder, financial incontinence disorder, lack of money disorder, budgeting difficulty disorder, overspending disorder, gambling disorder, lack of financial discipline disorder, no financial system disorder and associated money disorders eventually manifesting as full blown mental illness, dysfunctionality, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc… treatment should assist you so that within two years, you should be saving 20% – 70% of everything you earn.


There are many types of exercise which may be helpful, in particular walking groups, yoga, pilates, swimming, dancing. Exercise induces the release of endorphins, serotonin and helps maintain general good health.


Taking care of a plant or a garden and watching it slowly grow and bloom can build a sense of individual responsibility and achievement. Some options are Community Gardens, pot plants, vases of flowers, and Parks Gardening groups.

Gift Giving

Channelling good can often help you feel good about yourself! Bringing joy to others can give you a sense of friendship or worth.


Knitting or crocheting, such as making “Wrap with Love blankets” for charity, keeps your hands and mind occupied and focuses you on a productivity activity.

Hobbies and Interests

Achievements bring contentment. Committing to something you enjoy, such as music, writing, reading, watching movies or playing sports, makes you happy and gives you something to look forward to.

Home Remedies

Home remedies and therapies such as herbs, chamomile tea, aloe vera can have a calming or soothing effect. They are good for relaxation and have great health benefits as well.

Hypnosis Meditation CD

Reprograms the subconscious mind with positive affirmations to help create positive changes in a person’s life.

Laughter Therapy

Laughter Therapy (also called Humour Therapy) is founded on the benefits of laughter, which include reducing depression and anxiety, boosting immunity, and promoting a positive mood. The therapy uses humour to promote health and wellness and relieve physical and emotional stress or pain, and it’s been used by doctors since the thirteenth century to help patients cope with pain.

Light Therapy

Most commonly known for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), light therapy started gaining popularity in the 1980s. The therapy consists of controlled exposure to intense levels of light (typically emitted by fluorescent bulbs situated behind a diffusing screen). Provided they remain in areas illuminated by the light, patients can go about their normal business during a treatment session. So far, studies have found that bright light therapy might be useful in treating depression, eating disorders, bipolar depression, and sleep disorders.

Listing and Decluttering

Having over-cluttered living space or a lack of focus or goals can worsen one’s mood and contribute to one’s mental illness. Making and completing lists create a sense of responsibility and achievement. Cleaning the house, doing the dishes, decluttering one’s living space and making small daily accomplishments can improve one’s mood and give a sense of organisation and discipline.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help ease feelings of stress, tension or anxiety. It also benefits your skin, muscles and blood circulation, and alleviates arthritis.


Meditation reduces stress and improves concentration. Practising meditation on a regular basis increases self-awareness, happiness and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Taking time for Prayer and Bible reading may also be of great benefit to certain people.


Stay in the present moment. Focus yourself on the now. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings in a given moment without judging them as right or wrong, or as reasonable or unreasonable.

Music and Singing

Music and singing gives happiness and enjoyment. Singing can lower stress levels and decrease the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in your bloodstream. It also promotes mental alertness by improving blood circulation and allowing more oxygen to reach the brain. Making music in any form is relaxing. Listening to music also lowers stress and elevates your mood, relieving anxiety and even reducing depressive symptoms.

Music Therapy

There are loads of health benefits to music, including lowered stress and increased pain thresholds, so it’s hardly surprising that there’s a therapy that involves making (and listening to) sweet tunes. In a music therapy session, credentialed therapists use music interventions (listening to music, making music, writing lyrics) to help clients access their creativity and emotions and to target client’s individualised goals, which often revolve around managing stress, alleviating pain, expressing emotions, improving memory and communication, and promoting overall mental and physical wellness. Studies generally support the therapy’s efficacy in reducing pain and anxiety.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Has a wonderful technique where you take someone back to an initial trauma and then take them to a time and place they were very happy and then replace the initial trauma with the positive experience.

Orgasmic Meditation / Orgasm Therapy / Sex Therapy

For women, whose mental illness or mental disorder arises due to pent up stress, inhibition, repression, false religion etc., orgasmic meditation and orgasm therapy provides, by way of the 15 minute orgasm – a natural no side-effect release and source of empowerment when properly done on her own or with skilled partners or practitioners or by way of an orgasmic meditation machine or device within the context of proper orgasmic doctrine, philosophy and support with repetition and follow through.


There are health benefits to having a pet. Pets help to lower blood pressure and decrease anxiety, whilst boosting our immunity. There are many physical, mental and emotional improvements to caring for an animal companion.

Polarity Balancing

Similar to remedial massage, but a different technique that achieves the same result in balancing the flow of life energy within the human body.

Primal Therapy

It gained attraction after the book The Primal Scream was published back in 1970, but Primal Therapy consists of more than yelling into the wind. Its main founder, Arthur Janov, believed that mental illness can be eradicated by “re-experiencing” and expressing childhood pains (a serious illness as an infant, feeling unloved by one’s parents). Methods involved include screaming, weeping, or whatever else is needed to fully vent the hurt. According to Janov, repressing painful memories stresses out our psyches, potentially causing neurosis and/or physical illnesses including ulcers, sexual dysfunction, hypertension, and asthma. Primal Therapy seeks to help patients reconnect with the repressed feelings at the root of their issues, express them, and let them go, so these conditions can resolve. Though it has its followers, the therapy has been criticised for teaching patients to express feelings without providing the tools necessary to fully process those emotions and instil lasting change.

Relationship Agreement or Treatment

For those whose mental illness or mental disorder arises out of their primary relationship with their partner (or others) where durations and terms have not been defined or committed to in writing. Treatment includes the supervised setting of durations and renewal dates for the relationship, bond posting and defining of all terms for each partner so that the relationship will no longer be a cause of mental illness, distress or disorder. This will help to terminate mentally unhealthy relationships and give more structure to those lacking written structure and definition. A perfect way to start a new relationship with purpose, direction, security and clarity where all is agreed and love is free to flow.


Calming, soothing, relaxing. Everybody needs time to recharge and process the day. Not having enough time to relax can worsen feelings of stress and tension.


It is often observed that having a religious belief can give you a positive state of mind, and something to focus on while you face problems in life.

Remedial Massage

Past stress and/trauma gets locked in the cellular tissues. Massage helps to release from the body and people feel relaxed and lighter in the body and mind.

Sleep and Resting

Sleep and resting is a vital pause and interval in the midst of our busy lives. Many of our problems, such as negativity, worry, bad moods and emotional instability, can be traced back to a bad night’s sleep. Making sure you get the right amount of sleep every night can give you much more energy and let you face the day’s challenges with a better, clearer attitude.


It is undeniable that human company is reaffirming. Friends are great for balance and fun, and everyone always needs to have a person to chat with. A support network is vital for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Theta Healing

Takes a person back to the original trauma that keeps getting replayed and reprograms the person with positive commands to the subconscious so that a new life experience may be experienced.

Vitamin and Mineral Therapy

Research shows that long-term use of medication depletes valuable nutrients in our bodies, which often has an impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Supplements may be used to replenish these nutrients. Some vitamins and minerals may need to be added for a time to make up for any big imbalances.


Helping others can gladden the heart. It gives you a sense of purpose and fulfilment and increases your self-confidence, whilst decreasing your risk of depression. It can also help you find work and social opportunities. 

Wholesome Foods

Sometimes not eating a balanced diet – too much processed food/junk food/sugar, or food intolerances or allergies (particularly to wheat and dairy) can affect people’s mental state. It can easily be fixed by vitamin/mineral supplements or removing the offending foods from the diet.  Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables can improve your health dramatically.

Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness therapists take clients into the great outdoors to participate in outdoor adventure pursuits and other activities like survival skills and self-reflection. The aim is to promote personal growth and enable clients to improve their interpersonal relationships. The health benefits of getting outside are pretty well substantiated: Studies have found that time in nature can lower anxiety, boost mood, and improve self-esteem.


For gentle stretching and maintaining subtlety in the body and also has the power to fight stress and improve moods. Mindfulness-based yoga lowers stress and anxiety and helps with bi-polar disorder and depression.


Croft, Harry, ‘Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Treatment’ (2016) Healthy Place.

Cooke, B., & Ernst, E (2000) Aromatherapy: a systematic review. The British Journal of General Practise, 50 (455): 493-496.  

Mind For Better Mental Health, Complementary and Alternative Therapy (November 2016) <>

Murphy, Gregory, ‘Various preferred section 68 part (e) treatment alternatives.’

Newcomer, Lauren, 8 Alternative Mental Health Therapies Explained (December 4, 2012) < >

SANE Australia, Complementary Therapies (3 August 2017) <>

Wheeler, Regina Boyle, ‘Alternative Treatments for Mental Health’(2009) Everyday Health.

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