Mental health is a “crisis”.
It was true before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse skyrocketing, and with suicides an epidemic in our societies, mental health is a catastrophe.
The question that is asked seldom (if at all) is “how did we get here?”
The Mental Health Crisis: a crisis born of failure
As Psychedelic Stock Watch regularly reports, even before Covid-19, roughly 2 billion people globally were suffering from treatable (but generally untreated) mental health disorders.
How could 1 in 4 people across the planet be simultaneously suffering from a treatable mental health disorder? Why are these disorders generally “untreated”?
Sadly, both of those questions have the same answer. It’s because conventional therapies for mental health don’t work.
Even after long periods of treatment, sufferers of such disorders generally only obtain moderate or minimal alleviation of symptoms. Many derive no benefit at all from these therapies, and of those who do, much of that efficacy is merely a placebo effect. Few people are ever cured.
For depression sufferers in the United States:
- “First line” drugs to treat depression (antidepressants) only produce a benefit for roughly 50% of users. Out of that 50% who report some benefit, approximately 1/3rd of the “efficacy” is just a placebo effect. In return for this minimal efficacy, antidepressants are addictive and have many unpleasant and even dangerous side effects.
- Because of the poor treatment options available, roughly 2 out of 3 Americans suffering from depression don’t even seek treatment.
For addiction sufferers in the United States:
- “Rehabilitation” clinics are little more than a revolving door: rehabilitate, release, relapse, repeat. This is due to the lack of effective drugs to control addictive cravings. For this reason, such chemical dependencies are now being described as “a disease” (rather than a treatment failure).
The horrific consequences of treatment failure in mental health
Mental health disorders have long been known as the leading overall cause of disability. Today, lost productivity due to mental health issues alone costs the global economy over $1 trillion per year.
However, the human costs of this treatment failure are much more severe. As a consequence of grossly inadequate treatment options for mental health:
- One American commits suicide approximately every 10 minutes.
- Suicide has been an epidemic in the United States for at least 9 years and is now the second-leading cause of death for Americans aged 10 - 34.
- One American dies from a drug overdose every 5 minutes.
- Substance abuse costs the U.S. economy over $740 billion per year.
Within the U.S. military, the Mental Health Crisis is arguably even worse. As a result of poorly treated (or often untreated) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):
- Over 115,000 veterans have committed suicide in the past 20 years (more than double the total combat fatalities from the 20-year Vietnam War).
- Today, veteran suicides have risen to a record rate, with one veteran taking their own life nearly every hour of every day.
However, the existing treatment options for PTSD have as bad or worse a success rate as treatments for depression and addiction.
- Only about 1/3rd of veterans receiving treatment for PTSD from the DoD report any benefit from treatment.
Overall, a horrible medical crisis. An atrocious treatment failure. And worse still, there is no hope on the horizon for sufferers of mental health disorders with respect to conventional therapies.
How do we know this? Because as of the mid-point of the last decade, Big Pharma has largely quit even trying to come up with better drugs for mental health.
As we have seen from decades of treatment failure, without better drugs psychotherapy is largely ineffectual in even stabilizing this crisis – let alone actually making some progress.
What alters this desperate equation from being a tragedy to a crime is that better drugs to treat mental health already exist. And for 50 years, the medical profession has been aware of these drugs.
The failed criminalization of psychedelic medicine
Going back as far as the 1950s, research into the use of psychedelic drugs for the treatment of mental health has shown great promise. However, at the end of the 1960s, psychedelic drugs were heavily criminalized as (supposedly) “dangerous drugs”.
This was all part of the now-discredited horrific policy failure that has been dubbed (by our own governments) a “War on Drugs”.
Certainly, it has been a “war” against anyone using these substances, from casual recreational users to hardened addicts.
In the United States, it has been a “war” against visible minorities, who were prosecuted and persecuted under this flawed legal framework at far higher rates than non-minorities.
It has also been a “war” against our communities.
As the U.S. government already knew from its first failed experiment with alcohol Prohibition, the biggest beneficiary of drug criminalization is organized crime. In handing organized crime a trillion-dollar-per-industry, the U.S. (in particular) has transformed many urban environments into war zones.
After half a century of the horrific costs from this failed campaign grossly outweighing any dubious ‘benefits’, saner voices (all the way up to the United Nations itself) are now calling for an abolition of this New Prohibition.
As a “war” against the abuse of drugs, this crime-and-punishment campaign has failed miserably. However, as part of a war against mental health the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ has succeeded in spectacular proportions.
Poverty, unemployment and the “war” against mental health
If psychedelic medicine is now recognized as being of vital importance for the effective treatment of mental health disorders, why did we not understand this 50 years ago – as evidence was already emerging of the medicinal virtues of these substances?
It’s because our societies themselves have changed radically (for the worse) over the past 50 years.
At the end of the 1960s, Western nations were truly democratic, happy and prosperous societies. We had full liberties. Human rights were respected.
At the end of the 1960s, an average single wage-earner could comfortably provide his (or her) family with a house in the suburbs – and very possibly a two-car garage.
Today, many (most?) dual-income households struggle to tread water financially. Home ownership is an impossible dream for more and more families.
At the end of the 1960s, we had full employment. Everyone who wanted to work was not only able to find a job, most had solid, middle-class jobs – or better.
Today, while corrupt politicians babble about “full employment” and mindless media drones repeat the nonsense, only 62% of Americans are employed. Over 40% of Americans with jobs make less than the minimum wage of 1968 (adjusted for inflation).
Crunch those two numbers above and you get this: today only 37% of Americans are employed at a job that pays more than the minimum wage of 1968. What happened to “the American dream”?
Meanwhile, even with ~38% of Americans not employed, there are now 10+ million unfillable jobs in the United States. Mostly, these are sub-minimum wages jobs, but employers used to be able to find bodies for these slave-labor jobs.
Today, with the Average American oppressed and downtrodden literally to the point of being mentally ill, the workers have rebelled. The result has been The Great Resignation: “well over 20 million people quit their jobs in the second half of 2021.”
What will bring those people back to the work force? How about not having to deal with one or more untreated mental health disorders while trying to scrape by on one of the U.S. economy’s low-wage jobs?
Our governments refuse to do anything to fix our relentlessly deteriorating economies, so, instead, they simply lie to the People.
The U.S. and other morally bankrupt Western governments claim that the 21st century train-wreck economies across the Western world are “strong”. The corrupt mainstream media parrots that fiction too.
If slave wages, massive unemployment, and a government drowning in debt represents a “strong” economy, what exactly would a “weak” economy look like?
There were no “tent cities” in Western nations in the 1960s. In the 1960s, “the Homeless” were known as homeless people – and they were rare.
At the end of the 1960s, the prosperous, securely-employed citizens of the Western world (with full rights/liberties) were basically happy. Consequently, mental health issues were largely confined to only those members of the population with a genetic predisposition for mental health instability.
With a full-time parent in most households, our children were also better cared for. Thus, children were also considerably emotionally/mentally healthier. With mental health “issues” often surfacing during the formative years of youth, this is another reason that our society of 50 years ago was much healthier mentally.
Today, with economic and employment security virtually non-existent, with minimal “rights” and liberties, and with constant messages of hatred and intolerance emanating from both government and media, our societies are ill – mentally ill.
In environments of constant economic and emotional stress, with conditions steadily worsening decade after decade, extreme stress is now an oppressive reality for an increasing percentage of society, from children through to seniors.
After 50 years of our governments making our lives worse and worse (and doing nothing to alleviate the consequences of this oppression), simply attempting to maintain one’s mental health is becoming a greater and greater challenge for most people.
Winning the war against mental health: psychedelic medicine
It’s not the purpose of this article to attempt to ascertain whether Western governments have waged a deliberate war against the mental health of their own citizens, or, whether this is just another consequence of 50 years of political/economic misgovernance by these same governments.
However, many would argue that a half-century of failure and futility is hard to achieve accidentally.
Regardless, the Mental Health Crisis is here: the worst health pandemic in the history of humanity. Now what do we do about it?
We pull mental health drugs that actually work out of the regulatory deep-freeze and, for the first time, we provide sufferers of mental health disorders with the same level of care that we provide for physical ailments.
Conventional “therapies” for mental health are nothing more than minimally effective crutches. Conversely, science is now proving that psychedelic medicines can literally fix broken brains – perhaps in much the same way that physicians reset a broken bone.
Psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD are showing the capacity (in animal testing) to literally rebuild neural connections in the brain. In turn, this physical repair of the brain is said to “reset” or “rewire” the minds of those who are treated.
Real medicine. Cures instead of crutches.
In a Phase III clinical trial by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) of an MDMA-based therapy for PTSD reported:
- ~90% of study participants experienced significant benefit from treatment
- 67% of participants (2 out of 3) no longer “qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD”, i.e. they were effectively cured
In a Phase IIa clinical trial by GH Research (US:GHRS) using a 5-MeO-DMT derivative as a treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) 7 out of 8 participants (87.5%) were in remission after a single day’s therapy (i.e. effectively cured).
These aren’t some minor, incremental gains in efficacy. This is night and day. Fifty years of mental health failure versus treatment success.
Government corruption stands in the way of psychedelic medicine
U.S. government corruption has been blocking access to psychedelic medicine for 50 years (and counting). This can be demonstrated in a multitude of ways. Most obvious is drug scheduling.
Today, virtually all psychedelic drugs are “Schedule I” drugs in the U.S., the most-extreme level of drug criminalization. Drugs on this list supposedly “have no accepted medical use” and “a high potential for abuse”.
The reality is that most psychedelic drugs (such as psilocybin, LSD, MDMA and others) are known to be non-addictive. These psychedelics have such minimal toxicity that no one ever dies from an overdose. There is no evidence of any “high potential for abuse” for most psychedelic drugs.
Equally, the formal clinical trials demonstrating the greatly superior efficacy of psychedelics versus conventional drugs easily meet the bar as “an approved medical use”. All clinical trials require formal regulatory approval.
In comparison, deadly drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and even the killer opioids unleashed upon us by Big Pharma are all Schedule II drugs.
The killer drugs are mostly Schedule II (or lower).
The safe psychedelic medicines (and cannabis) are Schedule I drugs.
Taking this level of regulatory corruption a step farther, growing bodies of clinical evidence are showing that psychedelic medicine can be as effective in treating substance abuse as it is for depression and PTSD, from smoking cessation to opioid abuse.
The psychedelic drugs that could be greatly alleviating the Opioid Crisis and substance abuse, in general, are kept in regulatory deep-freeze while drug abusers drop like flies on killer drugs that are less restricted.
- Using psilocybin to treat nicotine addiction, 80% of smokers were fully abstinent 6 months later (2014 study)
- Using ibogaine to treat opioid addiction, 50% of addicts had stopped consuming opioids after one month (2017 study)
Again, these aren’t minor improvements versus existing therapies. This is night and day. Going from being nearly powerless in treating addiction to employing highly effective therapies to save lives.
Keeping psychedelic drugs as Schedule I controlled substances is clearly corrupt. Given the extremely acute need for these medicines (and the number of people needlessly dying each day), withholding access to psychedelic medicine is arguably a crime against humanity.
Eight million preventable deaths per year.
That’s a lot of blood on the hands of the Biden administration and other governments.
Both the U.S. and Canadian governments are even blocking access to psilocybin therapy for compassionate use by terminally-ill cancer patients. Blocking compassionate relief for the terminally ill (to use a safe substance like psilocybin) is barbaric -- and corrupt.
The political corruption can be shown in other ways.
Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has recently been banging the drum on the need for politicians and regulators to join the 21st century regarding psychedelic medicine. Volkow announced that “the train has left the station” with respect to psychedelics and “there is an urgency to bring treatments for people that are suffering from severe mental illness which can be devastating”.
For the better part of the last 50 years, NIDA was the U.S. government’s #1 mouthpiece supporting the corrupt War on Drugs. Now, not only has the federal government been deprived of its top apologist in attempting to justify corrupt drug laws, that “apologist” is now an open advocate for psychedelic medicine.
State governments are listening.
In just the past year, more than a dozen state governments representing nearly 50% of the U.S. population have announced that they are either going to “study” psychedelic medicine, or move toward some level of decriminalization/legalization. Oregon has already legalized the medicinal use of psilocybin.
In contrast, in the recent “strategy” on mental health announced by the White House, Joe Biden pledged billions of dollars doing more of what has already failed. But not one word on psychedelic medicine.
Congress is equally corrupt. A bill that would have simply made it easier for the federal government to study psychedelic medicine was voted down 331- 91.
Ignorance is curable. Stupidity – the choice to remain ignorant – is terminal.
President Joe Biden and Congress are choosing stupidity (and criminalization) with respect to psychedelic medicine, while one American dies from either suicide or a drug overdose every 3 minutes. If that is not corruption, what is it?
The War on Drugs was never justifiable: repeating the greatest law enforcement failure in history (Prohibition) with an even more-flawed, more-harmful law-and-order crusade.
Conversely, the war on mental health has been devastatingly successful. Untreated (and poorly treated) mental health issues now represent the largest pandemic in the history of humanity with more than 2 billion people in need of treatment – with that number spiraling higher by the day.
Eight million preventable deaths per year. Corrupt politicians with blood on their hands.
It’s time to start a war for mental health. Politicians who continue to stand in the way need to be voted out of office.