Dear psychedelic researchers, [advocates, citizens, and educators]
…two major contributors to the mental health epidemic are staring us in the face: wealth and health inequality… [which] perpetuate traumas that frequently manifest in treatment-resistant mental illnesses. In this context, the story that psychedelic medicalization will revolutionize mental health in the absence of socioeconomic change is nothing more than a persistent hallucination… if we ignore the patterns of unethical behavior by these psychedelic capitalists out of service to some future, imagined “good,” we discount real-world suffering… We acknowledge that this complicates rapid institutional timelines for increasing access to some drugs for some people via psychedelic medicalization… [but] without structural change we will reproduce the shortcomings of the current system.
A meta-analysis in Clinical Psychology Review showed a statistically significant relationship between debt, mental health, and suicide attempts and completions. Those who have died by suicide were eight times more likely to be in debt, and those with depression are almost three times more likely to be in debt. Debt-related suicides are a global problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Indebted Indian farmers offer just one example. The correlation between mental health and debt presents bleak prospects: the average American is $38,000 in debt and the average millennial, aged 25-34, is $42,000 in debt—exceedingly worse than their parents’ generation. Moreover, mainstream discourse has fixated on “health insurance” rather than “healthcare” and even then, 87 million Americans are uninsured, under-insured, or have experienced a gap in insurance coverage. Additionally, 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, while 45% have none. Finally, since 2000 suicide has skyrocketed. Austerity—the active assault on social safety-nets specifically justified by debt-narratives—quite literally kills.