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Oral contraception (aka “the pill”) was heralded as one of the hallmarks of the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s, finally giving women more control over their bodies and choices over their reproduction. Fast-forward 60 years, and birth control pills today are often casually prescribed to women and young girls as band-aids for PMS symptoms, acne management, hormone imbalances, and uncomfortable periods.
Although not all women experience obvious side effects from taking the pill, it has become clear through research and observations in clinical practice that hormonal birth control can have serious impacts on women’s moods -- and being started on birth control often leads to being started on an antidepressant.
As the only dual-credentialed psychiatric nurse practitioner and registered dietitian in Virginia who is also a certified practitioner of Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine, Ashley Mannell of Nourish Health & Wellness Pyschiatry (formerly Richmond Integrative Psychiatric and Nutrition Services) is uniquely qualified to provide a highly integrative and nutrition-centered treatment approach for people looking to achieve better mental health without relying solely on medications. She strongly believes that good physical, emotional, and mental health all starts with a healthy gut and that reducing inflammation in the body is key to improving physical and mental wellness.
Ashley’s goal with every patient is not just to treat their symptoms, but to work together with them to identify the underlying causes of the symptoms (which can vary from poor gut health, a taxed adrenal system, poor liver detoxification processes, low-level systemic inflammation, a history of trauma, etc). Treating only the symptoms of depression or other mood disorders is not a long-term solution and should no longer be the standard of care. A functional medicine approach to mental health and psychiatry is proactive, dynamic, collaborative, and integrative.
In 2015, Dr. Alexandra Cope made her way back east with the second most life altering decision: to pack up her medicine and stand as an ally and medic at Standing Rock with the American Indians. During her time there, she discovered a missing link in her medical practice, integrating justice into her deep passion for holism in medicine.
Like her elders, Dr. Cope is a wisdom seeker and truth keeper, linking her allopathic medical training and naturopathic medical degree with plant medicine. Her joy is in women’s empowerment and health on all levels, including digestive health and microbiome restoration. Healing as a Natural Medicine Doctor, she also helps with heart health and blood sugar issues.
Naturopaths spend more time listening and guiding their patients on their path to healing, rather than treating them like another number. If you are looking for underlying issues imbalancing your mind, body, and spirit, you would benefit from seeing Dr. Cope.
Dr. Cope’s professional background:
When not assisting her patients, you can find Dr. Cope geeking out with functional labs or finding her feet present in the soil.