Welcome to Mental Health Navigator. Thank you for visiting!
This site is the online home of the book Your Mental Health Repair Manual: An Empowering, No-Nonsense Guide to Navigating Mental Health Care and Finding Treatments That Work for You. You’ll also find a wide variety of other mental health information and resources here.
Very Important: Do not try to treat yourself!
This website contains general information about mental health problems and treatments. It will not necessarily apply to your unique circumstances. This information is intended to help you start a conversation with your physician or other members of your care team, so that together you can come up with a treatment plan that is right for you. Do not, under any circumstances, start any new treatment, or discontinue an existing one, based just on what you read on any website, including this one!
Who is this site for?
This site is for anyone who has gotten stuck trying to get help for mental health problems, and doesn’t know where to turn next.
You’ve maybe seen a family doctor, possibly a counsellor, tried a few treatments, done some reading on your own, and it didn’t help. Or, you’re sitting on a long waiting list to see a psychiatrist, and wondering what to do in the meantime.
Being sick is causing all kinds of strain, affecting your school or job, relationships and quality of life. You’d like to start getting better now, but you’re not sure what to do next, and nobody else seems to know either. You know you’re sick, but apparently not sick enough that you can actually get someone to help you.
What will you find here?
You’ll learn how to better navigate the mental health system yourself, because nobody else is going to guide you through it.
You’ll find out about causes and treatment for mental health problems that frequently get overlooked in practice. You’ll learn to avoid mistakes so you don’t waste time on the wrong treatments, and don’t discard what could be the right ones too quickly. When you’re feeling stuck, you’ll find here tools to help you move forward.
You won’t find a ton of info about stigma (from the patient side anyway), how to deal with a mental health crisis (for which there are many excellent resources), or local resources in any given area.
While you’ll find material useful to people with a wide variety of mental health concerns, it’s probably going to be most useful for those with the more common problems, e.g. mood and anxiety disorders.
How will it help you?
Mental illness is complicated, rapidly changing and time-consuming to treat. Family doctors in particular are really short on time, have to keep track of 1000+ patients, and learn what’s new in every medical field.
You on the other hand probably have a bit more time on your hands, know yourself pretty well, and are capable of learning a bit about your own illness.
We’ll show you how you can use those three things, working with the help of a family doctor and others, to explore available and appropriate treatment options, giving you a better chance of getting well a lot sooner.
Dr. Pauline Lysak is a psychiatrist who specializes in treating complex patients with both mental and physical health challenges, including many who have been treatment-resistant. She’s worked in a variety of different hospital and clinic settings, most of the last several years in private practice. A big focus in her practice is educating people about their illness.
Mark Roseman is a software developer, entrepreneur, writer, and mental health advocate. He has helped Pauline run the front office of her private practice. They also happen to be married to each other.
What inspired this site?
Over and over again, Pauline would get referred patients by family doctors—many of them having seen one or more psychiatrists over the years as well—who had been struggling for a long time without getting better.
Because of how stretched and fragmented the mental health system is, we saw the same investigations and treatments being either missed or misused again and again. Many more just fell through the cracks with nobody to suggest a way forward. Hundreds more were turned away when the practice was full. So instead of possibly working on getting better, patients were either on ineffective treatments, or (if they were lucky) languishing on year long waiting lists to briefly see one of the too few psychiatrists around.
Generally, the sickest people can get some care, and the least sick don’t need it. That leaves a whole lot of “high functioning” people in the middle with nothing.
We believe that with a relatively small amount of education and a modest amount of time, many of these patients can meaningfully contribute more to their own care, and possibly get better faster.
Over time, many of these ideas were fleshed out in greater detail, culminating in the release of Your Mental Health Repair Manual in November 2019.