The article proposes a rough outline of an alternative systemic approach to mental health issues and of a more humane mental health care system. It suggests focusing on understanding mental distress as stemming from problems in living, using medications as agents facilitating psychotherapy, or as a last resort and short-term help, according to the principles of harm reduction. It argues that understanding drugs as psychoactive substances and studying the subjective effects they produce could lead to better utilization of medications and improvements in terms of conceptualizing and assessing treatment effects. Qualitative research could be particularly useful in that regard. It also advocates a radical departure from current diagnostic systems and proposes a synthesis of already existing alternatives to be used for both research and clinical purposes. Accordingly, a general idea for an alternative mental health care system, based on a combination of Open Dialogue Approach, Soteria houses, individual and group psychotherapy, cautious prescribing, services helping with drug discontinuation, peer-led services and social support is presented. The proposition could be seen as a first step towards developing a systemic alternative that could replace the currently dominating approach instead of focusing on implementing partial solutions that can be co-opted by the current one.