Embracing Holistic Mental Healthcare

By Kristian Ranta, Meru Health CEO & Founder

As the United States grapples with a profound mental health crisis, more and more digital and digitally-enabled solutions aim to increase access to mental health care. But many are merely replicating traditional mental healthcare in a virtual setting. Traditional care has been shown to have its challenges in terms of helping people to actually get better for the long term. Time magazine recently wrote an article on the quality issues in mental health care – America Has Reached Peak Therapy. Why Is Our Mental Health Getting Worse? We need to follow the growing body of evidence showing that holistic care is the future of effective and accessible mental healthcare.

What is holistic mental healthcare and how is it different?

Holistic mental healthcare is a personalized approach that considers people in the context of their everyday lives. It focuses not only on mental health symptoms and diagnosis, but also on physical health, nutrition, movement, breath, sleep, and individual stress responses — areas that are typically beyond the standard protocol when it comes to treating mental health.

Holistic mental healthcare empowers people to take control of their health by acquiring knowledge and skills that help them address the root cause of their stress or mental health symptoms. So, while someone may ultimately benefit from therapy and/or medication, they’ll also be making changes in their everyday lives that impact their health and how they feel. There is a growing amount of research showing that mental health is not just “mental”, and that other non-psychological factors like exposure to common environmental toxins or diets people eat play an important role in mental health. 

What does a holistic approach look like in a mental health offering?

There are many ways to think about holistic models of care. Through our research and experience at Meru Health, I’ve found the following qualities to be key to offering a truly holistic solution:

  • Personalized care. Each person’s path through treatment must be unique to them. By adopting a personalized approach to well-being rather than one-size-fits-all, people have the opportunity to learn what works for them. The root causes for mental health issues are different for different people and that’s why treatments should be as well.
  • More than mental health. Holistic healthcare goes beyond talk therapy, including a focus on nutrition, sleep, exercise, breath and relaxation practices. All of these areas ultimately contribute to improved emotional (and physical) well-being. If talk therapy or medication alone would cure mental illness we would not be where we are today.
  • Powerful information, practices and habits. Holistic care fits into people’s real, everyday lives. When people learn to understand more about things that contribute to their mental health struggles in their everyday lives, they become empowered. Learning practices, techniques and new habits that enhance your mental health help people regain their power to heal. 
  • Mind-body insight. With biofeedback technology, people can gather real-time data about their body’s stress response through heart rate and breath tracking to learn to understand the mind and body connection very concretely.


Meru Health’s mind-body approach has revealed a significant impact in treating depression and preventing suicide, with improvements maintained long after treatment. We now know that people make more progress when they work on their mental health and physical health together. We need to challenge ourselves to go deeper and not settle with merely managing mental illness. True healing is possible.

Still have questions? Ask away.