Mental Health Czar Speaks Against Lockdown

Government Psychiatrist Is Also Infectious Disease Expert

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz is a psychiatrist with a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology. She is also the first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use (the nation's top mental health official, aka "Mental Health Czar"), and as such had the opportunity to address the White House about the terrible impact of the national lockdown.

Speaking compassionately and with the benefit of her many years of experience, Dr. McCance-Katz noted that, "pre-pandemic, we lose 120,000 lives a year to drug overdose and suicide." She then asked, "How many more lives are we willing to sacrifice in the name of containing the virus?"

She continued:

We continually ask ourselves what the health costs and risks may be of reopening, but I ask: What might they be of not reopening or reopening in such a restrictive way that American lives are not restored? Of course, containing the effects of coronavirus are critically important, but so too is preventing suicide. So too is keeping a person from being terrified to ever leave their home. So too is protecting the mental health of our nation's young people.

After discussing the tremendous toll in mental health and substance abuse issues that the lockdown is engendering, she concluded with the sobering argument that, "The preservation of Americans' health and the health of our citizens cannot be measured by only one metric. Virus containment cannot be our only goal, no matter the cost to Americans."

Watch the full video of Dr. McCance-Katz's remarks here.

Key Points

  • Dr. McCance-Katz is the US government's top mental health official.
  • She is very concerned about the effect of virus containment measures on Americans' mental health.

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