The Beet at Ellwood Thompson's

4 North Thompson Street Richmond, Virginia 23221


Anyone taking mental health medications has the right to be informed about the benefits and risks of going on medications and the potential long-term risks they carry.

For many of us, our journey with psychiatric medications started when we went to our practitioner and told them we were feeling down, anxious, irritable, or were having difficulty sleeping. At that time, we were handed a prescription for a pharmaceutical that would hopefully make our symptoms “go away.” It may have worked for a time, but without questioning whether or not we still need it, we have continued taking this medication for years and years. At each visit, our doctor or nurse practitioner refills the prescription, and there is little to no discussion about it.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Anyone taking mental health medications has the right to be informed about the benefits and risks of going on medications and the potential long-term risks they carry. In addition, they should know about safer or more natural alternatives to medications, about the nature of psychiatric diagnoses, and how to safely come off of psychiatric medications. These discussions should be happening at every visit with your provider, as it is considered giving “informed consent.”

In this talk, Ashley Mannell and Courtney Harden of Richmond Integrative Psychiatric & Nutrition Services will discuss the “harm reduction model” they use with their patients to help them navigate the serious decisions around not only starting but also discontinuing psychiatric medications. The “harm reduction” model of mental health treatment centers around the foundational principles that every patient is unique, that there is no “one size fits all” approach to treating mental health, and that every patient has a right to receive from their practitioners all of the most up-to-date and accurate information surrounding mental health treatment so that they can be empowered to make the best decisions for themselves.

You will walk away from this presentation with a clear understanding of:

  • What “informed consent” looks like
  • Things to consider before you make the decision to start a psychiatric medication
  • How to decide if the time is right for you to discontinue taking medication (and how to have a productive conversation with your prescriber about it)
  • How to safely taper off of psychiatric medications
  • The latest research on the actual efficacy of psychiatric drugs
  • Safer alternatives to pharmaceuticals for depression, anxiety, ADD, etc
  • How functional medicine can help you get to the root cause of your mental health symptoms.

About the Presenters

Ashley Mannell, RD, NP, IFMCP

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 Manell of 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.

Learn more about Ashley and her practice at RichmondFoodandMood.com.

Courtney Harden, NP, IFMCP

Courtney Harden is a family nurse practitioner who is passionate about prevention and working with clients collaboratively to achieve optimal wellness. She earned her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University in Human and Organizational Development with an emphasis on Health Services. Board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, she received her Master’s in Family Health Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University and has served on the board for the Richmond region of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners. Courtney is also certified as a practitioner of functional medicine by the Institute of Functional Medicine.

In practice for over 6 years, she has worked predominantly in primary care and addiction medicine, as well as in obesity medicine. She has always had a clinical interest in exploring the intersection between mental health and whole body wellness or illness, digging into how imbalances in one area lead to problems in another. This curiosity is what lead her to functional medicine which requires a deep dive into everyone’s unique story, not just their symptoms or lab values. 

When not working, Courtney and her husband are usually out and about with their toddler. She loves spending time with her family and friends, trying Richmond’s new restaurants, traveling and (slowly) learning how to play the ukulele.


We love 'em! Email us at TheBeet@EllwoodThompsons.com or call 804-359-7525.

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