COMPLEMENTAR Y THERAPIES AND MENTAL HEALTH
SAMH, Scotland’s leading mental health
charity, works to support people who
experience mental health problems,
homelessness, addictions and other
forms of social exclusion.
SAMH recognises that conventional
medicine can be very important for
people with mental health problems.
However, we also know that many
people find alternative approaches to
be helpful. This leaflet is based on the
experiences of some SAMH service
users who have used complementary
medicine: their experiences are
Complementary therapies will not suit
everyone, and you should consult your
GP or other health professionals before
using a new therapy.
What are Complementary Therapies?
Complementary therapies are those therapies
which may be used to complement, or work
alongside, conventional treatments.
Complementary therapies tend to be "holistic",
meaning that an individual is considered as a
whole, with a range of physical, psychological,
emotional and spiritual needs. Treatment takes into
account every aspect of the individual; therefore
the focus is not on a person’s disability but on the
Who uses complementary therapies?
Millions of people use complementary therapies
worldwide, and there has been a growing interest in
complementary therapies in mental health. Many
people find they benefit from the greater emphasis
of alternative approaches on the contribution people
can make to their own well-being, rather than
relying solely on psychiatric treatments or drugs.
‘I think these therapies are
essential not only to my physical
health but, more importantly, to
my mental health’
While some research does exist on the uses of
complementary therapies for mental health
problems, there is very little conclusive evidence to
prove or disprove the usefulness of any particular
Which complementary therapy is
best for me?
Different therapies will suit different people, so the
only way to know if a particular therapy is right for
you is to give it a try. While ther