Raymond Brovont, a local emergency medicine physician, noticed more and more patients in the ER were struggling with depression and anxiety.
While there are resources to point patients to, Brovont said it can be difficult to find resources that aren’t already overwhelmed.
Bloom Health and Wellness, a ketamine therapy and IV vitamin infusions clinic, aims to close that gap a little bit more, Brovont said.
“People are suffering from this, and as COVID has taken its toll on our community, people are being isolated now,” Brovont said. “We have to combat this aggressively. If this can help people, just to sit and talk to me for an hour, where they can have a conversation with a person and have an idea of ‘I can really, effectively change what’s happening to me,’ I’m really willing to help any person that wants to come.”
What is ketamine?
Ketamine is a synthetic drug similar in chemical makeup to PCP that causes hallucinogenic reactions.
It has been used as a medical anesthetic since the 1970s, but more recently, some doctors have begun prescribing it as an alternative method for treating depression.
NPR recently reported that the use of ketamine to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns is part of a resurgence of “psychedelic psychiatry.”
Such “off label” uses are legal, but the FDA has not formally approved ketamine for the purposes of treating depression.
There has been some controversy surrounding ketamine’s use as a mental health treatment with critics raising concerns about the potential for abuse, addiction and psychosis.
At its new Prairie Village location, Bloom administers low and controlled doses of ketamine in dimly lit, quiet rooms for one individual patient at a time, Brovont said.
Patients are monitored by nurses — all of whom have an emergency medicine background and more than 10 years of clinical experience — with the aid of the same technology found in emergency rooms.
Brovont said he believes ketamine therapy should be used as one method to help patients work through mental health issues, and encourages patients to continue cognitive behavioral therapy and other treatments.
The idea is to practice holistic healing, Brovont said, which is why he asks potential patients about all factors in their life — diet, work, family, friends, with the aim of positively impacting different areas of their lives connected to mental health.
‘Help heal the community’
More than anything, Brovont said his goal is to positively impact his community.
Although he’s originally from San Francisco, Brovont is raising a family in Johnson County — and said he wants to help end the stigma surrounding mental health.
“My intent is I want to help heal the population, I want to help heal the community,” Brovont said.
Brovont offers free consultations to see if one qualifies for ketamine therapy.
There is a flat rate of $550 for an hour-and-a-half psychiatric ketamine infusion, and the treatment is not covered by insurance.
Vitamin infusions and ketamine infusions for pain are also available, though prices vary.
Bloom is open for appointments (with one patient seen at a time), which can be made online here.