"121 people commit suicide daily in our country, 22 of them veterans. We are also in the midst of an opioid epidemic with 198 people dying by overdose every day in our nation. Addicts are often using drugs to treat the symptoms of deep emotional pain. Untreated trauma is killing almost 320 people a day in America. It's an epidemic. We believe that instead of treating the symptoms, we need to provide the proper tools to fix the cause at its roots. Breathwork provides that possibility.” --Matt Kahl, Founder, Veterans for Natural Rights
Veterans For Natural Rights is teaming up with Psykia Institute and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to study the efficacy of breathwork as treatment for veterans suffering from severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Your contribution funds Phase 1 of this landmark study.
Why Veterans for Natural Rights is partnering with Psykia Institute to study Breathwork
I founded Veterans for Natural Rights in 2014 to build communities where veterans can heal, find their voice, and change the world.
For years, I've been building communities and running events to help veterans find healing through connection and community here at home, but we've always run up against a barrier. In order to do this, many veterans need medicines that the VA won't provide and the federal government has banned. We've advocated for the decriminalization, legalization, and regulation of Schedule I medicines for PTSD such as cannabis, ayahuasca, MDMA, and recently for psilocybin as well. To facilitate healing with these substances, up until now we have had to organize trips either to states where they are legal, or abroad to countries where they are at least decriminalized.
A veteran by the name of Brandon Ketchum was a candidate in 2016 for an ayahuasca trip to Peru, but couldn't obtain a passport to travel abroad in time for the trip. For many reasons, he just couldn't go. He needed convenient treatment where he was, here, at home in the States, and he needed it to be inexpensive. One month after we returned from Peru to film Soldiers of the Vine, he committed suicide. It had been his last cry for help, and it brought home the real problem we are facing here in America. Access to healing shouldn't be prohibited to all but the richest of people. Many times, the people who need and deserve healing the most also have the least money to spend on it.
121 people commit suicide daily in our country, 22 of them veterans. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, too, and 198 people die by overdose every day in our nation. 36 of them are veterans, if those proportions hold up. Addiction is suicide, too, but on an installment plan. Addicts are often using ineffective drugs to treat the symptoms of deep emotional pain that simply won't go away. You could say that untreated trauma is killing almost 320 people a day in America. It's an epidemic. If 320 people a day were dying from any other cause, how many billions of dollars would we be throwing at the problem? Instead of treating the symptoms, people need the proper tools to fix the problem at its root, and they certainly don't need to be thrown into jail for trying to treat it.
What if we didn't need to wait 10 years for the federal government to get on board legalizing another medicine? What if there were a way to help stop suicide in its tracks, right now? What if we didn't have to spend an arm and a leg to treat deep spiritual, psychic, and emotional wounds? What if we could treat them conveniently and inexpensively here, at home?
Breathwork provides that possibility. Deep emotional states can be reached, that much we know, but the approach needs more study. Is this a viable alternative to psychedelic states? Only further study can answer that question. My organization has agreed to partner up with Psykia Institute to do a landmark study with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to help bring awareness and attention to the issue, for this reason. We'd like to see the results of the study to determine if it can truly help veterans heal, and we are appealing to our communities to help fund the study.
We can't afford to leave any stone unturned in the fight to stop suicide. Please help us save 58 veterans and 261 civilians, 320 people in America every single day, from dying alone and abandoned by the society that caused their wounds. There's even more suffering from untreated trauma worldwide, and this approach might help save all their lives.
Executive Director, Veterans for Natural Rights
ABOUT VETERANS FOR NATURAL RIGHTS
Our mission is to build a community of support and education to veterans and civilians alike, to embrace freedom, self-reliance, independence, liberty, and equality while promoting natural treatments, activities and an overall well-being.Veterans for Natural Rights builds communities where veterans can heal, find their voice, and change the world. We are a social welfare and political action organization with deep roots in the veteran population, specializing in helping those with war trauma regain their lives, their purpose, and their sense of community.
ABOUT PSYKIA INSTITUTE
We are Psykia Institute, a newly founded organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to merge breakthrough science and traditional wisdom to help communities cultivate psychological and spiritual well-being. We advocate for a systems-oriented approach that guides individuals to identify and establish essential forms of connection (with themselves, each other, and nature). This is explored through curating multidisciplinary discussions, funding clinical research, and creating practices around the theme of interconnectedness. Most recently, Psykia reintroduced the topic of psychedelic medicine to Harvard University.