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The Holistic Prince and Mental Health

24 Feb, 09 | by Steven Reid, Evidence-Based Mental Health

I recently stumbled across the homepage for The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health and found this. Yes, HRH is coming to the rescue of mental health services in the UK by introducing guidelines on nutritional therapy, reflexology and aromatherapy. No specific mention of homeopathy or intercessory prayer but we live in hope. These guidelines will “set out the governance infrastructure for bringing these therapies into NHS mental health services and will provide a guide to service development”. Prince Charles’s partners in this venture are the Mental Health Foundation, Mind and of course the Royal College of Psychiatrists (of which he is the patron). The guidelines are due to be published in May but the funding comes from Lloyds TSB…oh dear.

St John’s wort has been discussed here before, but if you want a balanced overview of complementary treatments in mental health, Ursula Werneke’s article in Evidence Based Mental Health is this month’s Editor’s Choice (so it’s free to access). For a slightly more jaundiced view of alternative medicine in general David Colquhoun’s blog is well worth a look.

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  • Thanks for the link, but I would maintain that my view isn’t jaundiced but based on the evidence. My style on the blog, I’d agree, more journalistic than one would employ in a scientific journal, but one is trying to write for a wide audience (and in any case, even in science, there is a lot to be said for plain words).

    It often seems to me that discussions of alternative medicine are blunted by excessive use of euphemisms. No doubt it is good in general not to want to hurt the feelings of homeopaths and other people who advocate, often quite sincerely, forms of treatment that don’t work. But one must consider the patients too.

    I cannot explain the tendency of the Department of Health (and Skills for Health and half a dozen other quangos) to turn to the Prince of Wales for answers about alternative medicine. Apart from the dubious quality of the advice they get, the direct and vigorous interference of the Royal Family in trying the change public policy seems to be quite unconstitutional.

    At least it can supply some amusement, as when I asked Skills for Health whether they would be issuing a “competence” in talking to trees, I was told, in all seriousness, that I should ask LANTRA, the land-based skills council about that (read the transcript at

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  • I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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