Veterans Day 2022

This entry is written by Guest Blogger Joshua Stack. Joshua Stack is a communications professional and human services advocate. Stack has been involved with myriad causes including rock 'n' roll philanthropy for more than 20 years. He has also lobbied on Capitol Hill for hunger relief for Feeding America. S tack is a long time Asheville resident with his trusty terrier Baxter and can be found malingering in coffee shops and music halls in his free time. HIs devotion to the ground breaking treatments pursued by the Pearl are due to the loss of dear friends to suicide as well as his own struggles with mental health.


“We forget nothing really . . . the front-line days . . . are too grievous for us to be able to reflect on them at once. If we did, we should have been destroyed long ago . . . - terror . . . kills, if a man thinks about it.”


Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front


22 Veterans take their own lives every day despite being treated with therapy and medication. New treatments are being tested with high success rates that can help to reduce the number of suicides committed by our brave service members.


On this Veterans Day in the year 2022, we are confronting the fact that we haven’t adequately armed our amazing, hard-working veterans with the weapons necessary to battle one of the most fierce enemies they bring home from war: Their own minds.


New mental health treatments offer more than a glimmer of hope for those seeking relief from conditions like PTSD and severe depression. While our healthcare industry continues to over prescribe and under-treat, there are a select few organizations and providers working very hard to find the perfect balance of both with cutting edge treatments and methods. These developments are especially hopeful for our millions of veterans.


America was at war for two decades. And while the “body count” wasn’t as high as other wars in the past, we stop counting when our brave service members return home. According to the organization, “Stop Soldier Suicide,” Veterans are at a 57% higher suicide rate than those who haven’t served, which is more than 1.5 times the national average.


According to the organization, “Stop Soldier Suicide,” Veterans are at a 57% higher suicide rate than those who haven’t served, which is more than 1.5 times the national average.

Some injuries can’t be seen. These unseen wounds are even more difficult to treat, especially in a world where mental health isn’t seen as analogous to a bad back or a broken leg. Both require treatment. But, the more complex the injury, the more nuanced the treatment must be. Resetting a fracture in your leg is a matter of physics; simply put the bone back in place and brace it. Then it heals.


What about a fractured psyche? What do we do with that? How do we reach it?


Where do we go to get the brace for a mind that tortures us in our sleep or our waking hours?


Maybe we can think of these emerging methods as braces. We will explore these treatments through the eyes of an American Veteran, who feels his life was saved by these emerging modalities so we can honor their bravery on Veterans Day.


Where do we go to get the brace for a mind that tortures us in our sleep or our waking hours?

Arming Our Soldiers with Everything But....

As the most well prepared and best trained military force on the planet, America arms our soldiers with state-of-the-art training and weaponry designed to eliminate a threat in most any proximal scenario. We’re good at killing. A lot of this training is also designed to preserve lives while neutralizing an enemy. However, most of the training remains combative, in nature.


But what happens if the threat comes from within? What weapons and training regimens have we deployed for the bravest of the brave to use on themselves? Are we not investing in these men and women as safety and protection mechanisms for the rest of us? We sleep better at night because they stand a post.


But how well do they sleep while their trauma rages within?


Every day, we hear more anecdotes of those affected by PTSD simply wishing for a tool, a weapon, a routine to neutralize the threat within their own minds. Combat veterans literally continue fighting the same battles away from the battlefields. Eliminating the threat is what they’re trained to do.

“Every day, we hear more anecdotes of those affected by PTSD simply wishing for a tool, a weapon, a routine to neutralize the threat within their own minds.

No one tells our service members about the impacts of trauma on the brain. There’s no routine to handle a backfiring car or a ceiling fan that triggers those traumas that have been parked in a part of the brain that hasn’t done the normal processing of the event.


In fits of desperation, 22 combat veterans a day eliminate the threat that has become their own mind.


This is not mission accomplished. This is mission failed 22 times, daily.

A Success Story: John Lubecky

Retired army sergeant and North Carolina native, John Lubecky, returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan without mortal physical wounds. But, he attempted to alleviate his mental anguish with four failed suicide attempts. After years of VA visits and suicidal ideation, he received a surreptitious note at the VA that said “google MDMA PTSD.” He did.


“I’ll be honest,” Lubecky said. “I didn’t think this was going to work. That’s entirely why I volunteered. I’m like, ‘I’m going to die any day, I might as well try this.’ And then it was a miracle.”


Lubecky was admitted to a program that administers MDMA during closely monitored psychotherapy sessions. This compassionate use program allows for a limited number of people with extreme PTSD to receive this treatment. Data is collected and used to justify this method as an acceptable treatment regimen under federal Food and Drug Administration standards.


The trial produced staggering results: 67% of those treated no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis one year later.


22 makes yet another appearance, this time a happy one. John Lubecky returned from Iraq on November 22 2008, had his first MDMA assisted PTSD treatment on November 22, 2014. And on November 22, 2022, it will be six years since he has experienced healing results from this MDMA assisted psychotherapy.


The Pearl Psychedelic Institute is honored to be one of very few nonprofits participating in this ground breaking treatment.


67% of those treated no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis one year later.

Conclusion

We can allow our soldiers to continue protecting Americans from enemies, both foreign and domestic. We can arm them with training and know-how to defeat enemies within our own borders - literally. They can be the tip of the spear for new methods to treat trauma and help millions of Americans alleviate their lethal pain with something other than a firearm or a pill. We have the knowledge, ability, and data to deploy new treatments with an efficacy rate rarely seen to alleviate the fatal pain that can be caused by trauma. In doing so, we can work towards a healthier society where mental health is taken as seriously as physical wellness, with less stigma attached, accessible to more people desperately in need.


We honor all those who gave the last full measure of devotion on this Veterans’ Day in 2022. We remain committed to ensuring that 22 Veterans a day are able to choose something other than that same sacrifice here at home.

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