The Mental Health Crisis Now Dwarfs Covid-19

  • Today there as many as 100 people with treatable mental health disorders for every person currently infected with Covid-19
  • The Mental Health Crisis is also a much deadlier pandemic than Covid-19 – and rapidly worsening
  • After decades of ignoring mental health, governments are now forced to act




Even as new “variants” and “waves” of the Covid-19 virus emerge, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Covid is not the most serious pandemic threatening the world today.

That dubious honor now belongs to the Mental Health Crisis.

By nearly every measure, the mental health pandemic that is currently spiraling out of control dwarfs Covid-19 in severity. First the overall numbers.

The Mental Health Crisis dwarfs Covid-19 in its scope

The latest WHO numbers report 190 million total global Covid-19 infections, less than 3% of the global population. Roughly 90% of those people are already cured.

The mental health pandemic, pre-Covid:

Depression & anxiety: ~550 million people

Substance abuse:
-  Nicotine addiction (~1 billion people)
-  Alcohol use disorder (107 million people)
-  (Other) drug use disorder (71 million people)

Total: ~1.7 billion

Many people (even mental health professionals) don’t include nicotine addiction as a mental health disorder, despite considering all other substance abuse problems to be mental health disorders.

This is tragic for two reasons.
 
  1. In the United States alone, roughly 500,000 people die every year as a direct result of their nicotine addiction.
  2. Most of these deaths are clearly preventable.

According to the CDC, over two-thirds of cigarette smokers (the vast majority of nicotine addicts) want to quit – but they can’t. Nicotine addiction is one of the most pernicious forms of drug addiction.

Existing “smoking cessation” products are so ineffective that tobacco companies actually invest in them. Meanwhile, clinical research on nicotine addiction showed that a psilocybin-based therapy cured 80% of smokers (they were fully abstinent 6 months later).

Think of the potential savings in healthcare dollars if nicotine addiction was brought under control (roughly $300 billion per year is spent to treat smoking-related illnesses). Think of the savings in human lives.

Sadly, the mental health numbers above are already obsolete.

A rapidly worsening Mental Health Crisis

As Psychedelic Stock Watch has reported previously, Covid-19 lockdowns and other virus-prevention measures have caused mental health disorders to skyrocket due to the enormous additional stresses placed upon people.

The Mental Health Crisis: A Pandemic Becomes A Catastrophe
 
Depression/anxiety
 
  • Overall, the percentage of Americans suffering from depression had already more-than-tripled by September 2020, from 8.5% to 27.8% (91.75 million Americans) [source: Boston University]
  • Rates of “moderately severe depression” among Americans have quadrupled (from 2% to 8%) and rates of “severe depression” have more than quintupled (from less than 1% to 5%) [source: WebMD]
  • The depression/anxiety pandemic continues to worsen: between August 2020 and January 2021, the percentage of Americans experiencing anxiety or depression jumped from 36% to 42% [source: CDC]

Substance abuse
 
  • As of August 2020, sales of alcohol in the U.S. had risen by 27%, along with a 32% increase in non-prescribed fentanyl, 20% increase in methamphetamines, 12.5% increase in heroin, and 10% increase in cocaine, leading to an 18% increase in drug overdoses [source: EHS Today]
  • By June 2020 (only 3 months after the start of the pandemic in the U.S.), more than 1 in 8 Americans (13%) had either started or increased their use of recreational drugs due to COVID-related stress [source: CDC]
  • By June 2020, U.S. drug overdose deaths had reached their highest level ever, 81,000 overdose deaths from June 2019 to June 2020 [source: Statnews]

Given the soaring rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse since the start of Covid-19, total mental health disorders now approach or exceed 2 billion people worldwide. More than 10 mental health disorders per Covid-19 infection.

But (as noted) roughly 90% of those Covid infections are already cured. The mental health numbers are all current.

In other words, for every person currently suffering from Covid-19 in the world today, there are roughly 100 people with a mental health disorder – counting only depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

100:1.

Current Covid-19 infections are statistically insignificant in comparison with the total number of mental health sufferers.

The Mental Health Crisis is also deadlier than Covid-19

As we observe (in hindsight) that Covid-19 has a low fatality rate – and a very low fatality rate for most demographics – the Mental Health Crisis is clearly a much more dangerous killer.

Again quoting WHO numbers, total deaths attributed to Covid-19 are just over 4 million people, spread across 18 months.
This is a tragic loss of human life. But it is a one-shot crisis. As the Covid-19 pandemic runs its course, Covid-related deaths will dwindle to near-zero.

In contrast, the Mental Health Crisis is a relentless killer – year after year.
 
Nicotine addiction: 7.1 million deaths per year (2016 data), ~500,000 per year in the U.S. alone.

Drug overdose deaths: global numbers are unavailable, but nearly 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. alone in 2020a 30% increase.

Suicide epidemic: Globally, an estimated 800,000 people kill themselves each year. But that estimate is now also outdated due to additional Covid-related suicide deaths.

That’s at least 1 million mental health deaths per year if we (irrationally) exclude nicotine addiction. And ~8 million deaths every year if we do include nicotine addiction.

As noted, Covid-19 deaths will fall to near-zero as the pandemic wanes. Conversely, mental health-related deaths are rising sharply.

Including nicotine addiction deaths as part of the death toll from the Mental Health Crisis, even at its deadliest Covid-19 has not been killing as many people as the Mental Health Crisis.

Even if we only look at suicides and drug overdose deaths, the Mental Health Crisis is still the much deadlier pandemic since (as noted) these suicide/drug overdose deaths are not only recurring – they are rapidly increasing.

In the United States, suicide was already identified as an “epidemic” as far back as 2013. After 8 years of ignoring this epidemic (by Republicans and Democrats alike), today one American commits suicide roughly every 10 minutes.

The Mental Health Crisis dwarfs Covid-19 in terms of its scope. It dwarfs Covid-19 as a killer of humanity.

Fortunately, help is on the horizon. It only requires action by our governments on mental health (after decades of negligence and apathy).

Psychedelic medicine is the best-and-only hope for the Mental Health Crisis

For roughly 50 years, most psychedelic drugs have been criminalized as part of the irrational, futile, and now failed War on Drugs.

But even before this New Prohibition, medical science already knew that psychedelic drugs held enormous potential in treating mental health disorders. That’s why some clinical trials of psychedelic drugs are already well-advanced – this research has been able to piggyback off of previous studies.

Armed with current clinical studies, we now know that psychedelic drugs are nothing short of Miracle Drugs when it comes to treating mental health disorders.

In contrast, mainstream medicine has failed miserably in treating mental health disorders with conventional drugs/therapies.

There is no hope for sufferers here. That’s how/why we have a “mental health crisis”: decades of failing to treat rapidly increasing numbers of people with mental health disorders.

Psychedelic medicine is the only hope in treating a pandemic that is currently 100 times as large as the Covid-19 pandemic. This makes legalizing psychedelic medicine (and bringing these therapies to market) the #1 global healthcare priority in the world today.

2 billion mental health disorders = more than 1 in 4 people

Everyone knows people with existing mental health disorders. But given the stigma surrounding mental health, we may be entirely unaware of all these illnesses around us.

For any family with children, it is statistically probable that someone in your own household has a mental health disorder. The Mental Health Crisis is now the most-prevalent pandemic in human history.

Governments no longer have a choice in confronting this massive crisis. Mental health disorders are the leading overall cause of disability.

The global economy loses over $1 trillion per year from the Mental Health Crisis on lost productivity alone. But as another pre-Covid number, that statistic is also obsolete. Mental health now costs the global economy much more than $1 trillion per year on lost productivity.

We can’t afford these millions of mental health deaths every year. We can’t afford all these billions of mental health disorders. And we certainly can’t afford the many trillions of dollars per year in direct and indirect costs from the Mental Health Crisis.

How much longer can we continue with this untreated epidemic of mental health issues – before our economy and/or society simply collapses?

As our governments continue to fiddle over mental health, Rome burns.


As our governments continue to fiddle over mental health, Rome burns.
 
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