Behavioral health has it backwards. The answer is positive psychiatry: Here’s why

I will not argue that drugs are “bad” and holistic care is “good.” I have seen the way medications can transform a person’s life for the better, and I could never invalidate the experience of someone living with mental illness.

But I will argue vehemently that holistic, preventive, and integrative health measures should come first, and medication should be used as a secondary option. The current structure of psychiatry — and the way these physicians are financially reimbursed — has it backwards.

Enter: positive psychiatry. It’s a progressive movement that says financial investments should promote prevention and education. It says we need to analyze policy, economic structures, and social culture to see why the United States reports the highest levels of mental health illnesses. The entire system is failing the people it is meant to help, and applying band-aids can not last much longer. It’s time to transform the core structure of the system.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Jamie Katuna is a medical student.  She can be reached on Facebook.

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