For decades, Ketamine has been recognized as an anesthetic that has much more value than just aiding in a patient “not feeling any pain.” Over the last several decades, it has proven its efficacy at being effective against symptoms of anxiety and depression. In 2021, Columbia University published a paper remarking that Ketamine rapidly improves cognitive function making those in suicidal crisis less likely to harm themselves. This publication that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that one dose of ketamine not only reduced the severity of depression in people with suicide ideation, many of whom had not responded to other antidepressants, but also made patients feel safer and less likely to harm themselves because it rapidly diminished their suicidal ideation.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those ages 10-34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States. Dr. Mann said since 90 percent of those who die by suicide in the U.S. have a psychiatric illness and 60 percent of those people suffer a major depressive episode before a suicide attempt, it would be a major benefit if ketamine could be used to lessen suicidal risk.