This article was originally published on Microdose Psychedelic Insights, and appears here with permission.
“The humanity we all share is more important than the mental illness we may not.”
Elyn R. Saks
With Global Mental Health Awareness Day upon us, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on our wellbeing as a species. Between the current pandemic, mental health crisis and opioid epidemic, we are at a critical precipice in our collective evolution. A recent United Nations report starkly details the unsettling intersection of COVID-19 and mental illness – urgently calling to the world at large for stronger action.
Psychedelic medicine is poised to be the much needed solution to the dire mental health issues, such as depression, addiction and suicide, which are plaguing millions around the globe. From the groundbreaking clinical trials at Johns Hopkins Medical Center to the Imperial College of London and beyond, the therapeutic benefit of psychedelics in mental health treatment is continuously being unraveled.
This guide will explore our collective effort as a species in treating mental illness together during these uncertain times and the powerful role psychedelic medicine will play in revolutionizing mental healthcare moving forward.
COVID-19 & Mental Health Crisis Highlight Need for a New Paradigm of Psychiatric Care
The collision of COVID-19 with our already fragile mental healthcare system has exposed significant cracks and shortcomings in our approach towards treating mental illness. If the virus caught hospitals unprepared, the fragmented and difficult to access mental healthcare system is even less equipped to handle the impending fallout from COVID-19.
Recent WaPo reporting reveals text messages to federal government mental health hotlines are up 1000%.
In a physical sense, the lockdown has affected already limited accessibility to mental health resources. For instance, this study highlights that even in developed countries, like the United States, hundreds of millions of people live in areas with limited or no access to mental health professionals.1
In another sense, there is a very tangible level of fear and anxiety felt by people around the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
A recent study published in April found that: “Preliminary evidence suggests that symptoms of anxiety and depression (16–28%) and self-reported stress (8%) are common psychological reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may be associated with disturbed sleep.”2
Furthermore, a closer review of the clinical literature regarding the current state of affairs surrounding mental healthcare makes clear traditional approaches haven’t been working for a while.