By Ken Falke, Founder, Boulder Crest Foundation, and Josh Goldberg, Executive Director, Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth
Experts predict that an inevitable result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be a mental health crisis. One recent article projects that we could see 75,000 deaths of despair in the coming months.
We concur with these estimates; however, we also believe they miss the mark in one critical way. They fail to acknowledge that before COVID-19, our nation was in the midst of a massive mental health epidemic, characterized by millions of deaths of despair, and an 80-year high in our suicide rate.
More troubling than the possibility that we could see an epidemic go from bad to worse is the fact that our current mainstream approach to trauma, struggle, and suffering is not and has not been working for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time. This approach, leveraging so-called “evidence-based treatments” and medication, not only fails to stem the tide, but makes little impact on those seeking treatment.
The former Director the National Institute of Mental Health, Thomas Insel, recently asked: “Are we somehow causing increased morbidity and mortality with our interventions?”.
Insel’s question goes to the heart of our biggest fear. Out of a wave of concern and compassion, we anticipate billions of dollars may be allocated to address this wave of despair and depression related to COVID-19.
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