Psychedelic Medicine: The Only Hope In Solving The Mental Health LABOR CRISIS

  • The Mental Health Crisis is now also a labor crisis
  • “Crippling labor shortages” are directly attributable to unprecedented levels of stress and burnout – and the failure to properly treat mental health disorders afflicting 10s of millions of Americans

The Mental Health Crisis spirals out of control. As a consequence:
  1. Our economies are on the verge of collapse
  2. Our healthcare systems, in particular, are on the verge of collapse.
  3. Our societies are on the verge of collapse.

Psychedelic Stock Watch has been reporting the grim numbers: 2 billion treatable (but untreated) mental health disorders (roughly 1 out of 4 people), leading to 8 million preventable deaths per year.

But it’s more than just a health crisis. It is also a socioeconomic crisis. And the United States is in particular danger.

The mental health labor crisis

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health disorders were already (collectively) the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Prior to Covid, workplace “burnout” (i.e. too much stress) was already at epidemic levels.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard of the unprecedented “labor shortage” now facing the U.S. economy.
Take a worker population that was already suffering from record levels of mental health disorders. Burn them out with too much stress.

Then pile on much more stress via a national “health” emergency. Then refuse to provide all these people with even adequate treatment options to cope with their mental health issues.

Voila! A “labor shortage” has become a labor crisis. Quelle surprise!

As we have reported, all these mental health-related labor issues have been made radically worse by stresses associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns.
That article supplied the overall numbers on how depression, anxiety and substance abuse (in particular) had worsened since the start of the pandemic.

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. soared by 30% in 2020. U.S. rates of “moderately severe depression” and “severe depression” have quadrupled and quintupled respectively since the start of Covid.

While “record numbers of Americans quit their jobs” and 10 million jobs remain unfilled in the broader U.S. economy, 10s of millions of Americans attempt to cope with untreated mental health disorders.

Then there is the health/labor crisis in the U.S. healthcare system.

The mental health (and labor) crisis in U.S. healthcare

Time Magazine has taken a look at the people on the “front lines” during the pandemic: healthcare workers. People trying to treat the dramatic surge in the physically ill and the mentally ill.

The numbers reported by Time are alarming.
  • 38% reported experiencing anxiety or depression during the pandemic
  • 49% suffered burnout
  • Nearly one-quarter of all health care workers “showed signs of probable PTSD”

The increased rates of anxiety, depression and burnout are not significantly different than what is being experienced and reported among the general population. However, the dramatic rise in PTSD symptomology in healthcare workers is not representative of the general population – and an obvious consequence of the pandemic.

This is especially concerning because PTSD is such a debilitating and dangerous mental health condition. Just ask the U.S. military.

Among the costs of a series of U.S. wars is an epidemic of PTSD among military personnel -- and a suicide epidemic. Over the past 20 years, over 115,000 veterans have committed suicide, with the vast majority of those deaths attributable to (poorly treated) PTSD.

Military suicides are presently “at an all-time high”, an average of 22 per day. Roughly 25% of military personnel deployed in recent U.S. wars have been diagnosed with PTSD, very similar to the numbers being reported today among healthcare workers.

Already, the World Health Organization was forecasting a “shortfall of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030”. And that forecast was based upon a pre-Covid analysis.

How much worse is this shortage of healthcare workers going to get? Refer back to the Time article.
When the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses surveyed 6,000 of their members this year, 66% said they had considered leaving their jobs because of the pandemic. “No amount of money could convince me to stay on as a bedside ICU nurse right now,” a Seattle-area nurse wrote in a resignation note posted on Twitter.

… Facing a fragmented medical system with frequently misaligned incentives, health care workers have been grappling with anxiety and depression—even before COVID, the suicide rate among doctors was more than twice that of the general public. [emphasis mine]

Suicidal doctors (pre-Covid), with 66% of nurses “considering leaving their jobs” and some of those nurses already gone for good.

And this health/labor crisis goes well beyond doctors and nurses alone.

The U.S. 911 emergency response system is also on the verge of collapse because of its own unprecedented labor crisis. In an occupation that already experienced high rates of burnout and turnover prior to Covid, burnout and turnover have (not surprisingly) rapidly worsened during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, reactionary government lockdowns brought the training of new workers to a virtual halt.

Massive worker turnover + no replacements = massive labor crisis.
But the imminent collapse of the U.S. healthcare system goes beyond just the doctors, nurses and emergency response workers.
The clinical support staff who keep the doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals running are having their own health/labor crisis.
  • 88% reporting “moderate to extreme burnout”
  • 70% “have reported their mental health challenges to supervisors”
  • 63% considering quitting

We’re still not even close to emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet from doctors through to support staff, the entire U.S. healthcare system is on the verge of collapse.

This pending collapse is 100% attributable to a massive (and worsening) labor shortage caused by horrendous rates of mental health issues – and nowhere for healthcare workers to go to get these disorders properly treated.

Enter psychedelic medicine.

Physician, heal thyself

Why are mental health disorders the leading cause of disability?
Why do we have a mental health-related labor crisis?
Why is mental health a “crisis” at all?

It’s because conventional therapies to treat mental health disorders are generally just pathetic crutches that do little more than partially address symptoms.
Ironically, a healthcare system that has failed miserably in treating mental health is now in critical need of better mental health therapies itself – to avoid its own collapse.

Drug research on substances like psilocybin, LSD and MDMA continues to be hampered by archaic and irrational drug Prohibition laws. Even so, psychedelic medicine has now demonstrated the clear potential to revolutionize the treatment of mental health.
This is especially true with respect to the treatment of PTSD.

Why are an average of 22 U.S. veterans per day committing suicide as a consequence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Because the Department of Veterans Affairs has failed miserably in treating PTSD. Roughly 2 out of 3 veterans seeking treatment for PTSD from the VA report no benefit from therapy.

Meanwhile, a Phase III clinical trial by MAPS using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat PTSD is showing remarkable results.
  • 90% experiencing some benefit from treatment
  • 67% “no longer qualified from a PTSD diagnosis” (i.e. they were effectively cured)

Night and day. Failure vs. success.

But MAPS is having to repeat this Phase III clinical trial, instead of obtaining (likely) FDA approval and immediately starting to save the lives of veterans. Why? Because as a supposedly dangerous Schedule 1 drug – which MDMA is not – MAPS is required to repeat the trial.

Because the senior citizens of Congress won’t leave their War-on-Drugs ivory towers long enough to fix broken drug laws, veterans continue to die.

…and now more healthcare workers will die too.

The U.S. military can’t afford this horrific rate of attrition among veterans. Currently, less than 30% of young Americans can even qualify for military service. If this trend continues, the U.S. may not be able to fight any more wars.

We can all live without more wars. But we (literally) cannot live without a functional healthcare system.

Mental health = economic health

Beyond the collapse of the U.S. healthcare system and the deterioration of the U.S. military, we arguably cannot continue to endure the rate of attrition from mental health issues among the general population.

Prior to Covid, mental health issues were already costing the global economy over $1 trillion per year in lost productivity alone.

We can probably multiply that number by five (post-Covid) as global supply chains are also breaking down, in part due to mental health.

In the United States, a major factor in the collapse of supply chains is a shortage of truck drivers.
After the U.S. (and other governments) “deregulated” the trucking industry, pay plummeted while working conditions rapidly deteriorated.

As a consequence of worker burnout, a large percentage of truckers had already left the industry prior to the Covid pandemic. Then the pandemic worsened burnout rates and accelerated drivers leaving the industry. Sound familiar?

In the United States, a Suicide Epidemic is now in its ninth year, primarily due to poorly treated depression. Today, one American is committing suicide an average of every 10 minutes.

As already noted, the U.S. is also facing a drug overdose epidemic, in large part because of the inability of conventional medicine to treat addiction. One American dies from a drug overdose every 5 minutes.

The PTSD Epidemic among both military and healthcare personnel is considerably smaller in overall numbers, but the fatality rates are even higher.

The failure in adequately treating mental health disorders has literally been killing people for decades. Now this failure in mental health care is threatening to kill our economies too – via “crippling labor shortages”.

Time is running out. We need legalized access to psychedelic medicine today.

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