In One Step, I’ll Reduce Homelessness, Help Veterans, and Improve San Diego’s Mental Health Services

According to a May 2018 report, the percent of homeless veterans in San Diego has increased 45 percent, bringing the number to 1,312. Homeless veterans often suffer from untreated mental health problems such as PTSD, depression, and drug dependency.

Many of our non-veteran homeless residents suffer from the same ailments.

Our current homeless policies aren’t working. And our mental health services are lacking. So, what can we do?

We’ll bring Cutting-edge Mental Health Studies to San Diego

Both San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego regularly run studies on issues like PTSD, depression, and substance abuse. UCSD alone has over 1,000 studies on these topics.

Right now, researchers elsewhere are working to determine whether psychedelics can effectively treat many of the conditions that resist other remediation. Vox noted: “Psychedelics show promise in alleviating some of the conditions that have proven hardest to treat — addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, and, in some cases, depression are notorious for their resistance to treatment. Smoking relapse rates, for instance, have been estimated at 60 to 90 percent within one year, even as smoking kills hundreds of thousands each year.”

It’s time to bring these studies to our front door, so we can reap their benefits.

Here’s Exactly How I’ll Do It

First, to determine whether to decriminalize psychedelics in the City of San Diego for medical use, I’ll fight for the City Council to earmark funds to conduct new studies on the use of psychedelics for mental health.

Second, to facilitate the studies, the City will team up with SDSU, UCSD, and/or other research institutions. The City will provide funding to attract the top researchers in this area, and to conduct premier studies on the topic. We’ll also coordinate with the major research associations that are already studying this topic—like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

Third, we’ll advertise the availability of these studies to the public. We’ll make direct outreach to the residents who could benefit most, including our homeless population, which includes our homeless veterans suffering from PTSD. If those residents are interested, they’ll get compensated for their participation while making strides on their mental health.

This Plan Has Big Benefits

Our homeless population, including our homeless veterans, will get paid to get better, by participating in and being compensated for these studies. For many of these people, it will provide medical care to which they otherwise wouldn’t have access.

The City has spent millions to try to reduce homelessness, but the problem persists. With this plan, we’ll make a sizable dent in the homeless population by helping these residents get well. That will reduce the need for future spending.

San Diego will also prosper because, once it becomes the nationwide hub for this type of research, it will be the epicenter for academic conferences. In other words, a big boost to City revenue!

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Together, we can make San Diego work for the cannabis employee, for the artisan entrepreneur, for the retired high-school teacher, for the bright-eyed second-grader, for everyone.