Now, as we all face one of the biggest global challenges to our mental health – AKA coronavirus lockdown – a charity in Australia has backed the use of psychedelics as a treatment to tackle the psychological impact of quarantine.
Already compounded after the country’s devastating bushfires earlier this year, mental health charities have reported a surge in the number of people seeking help with depression, stress, and anxiety.
While Australia’s federal health minister has established new coronavirus support services, including digital and phone support, former Coalition MP (which is, confusingly, a centre-right party) and board member of Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) Andrew Robb is pushing forward a campaign to introduce MDMA and psilocybin – found in magic mushrooms – as a possible treatment.
MMA is urging the government to establish a taskforce for helping those suffering with their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and wants psychedelic-assisted therapy to be available as part of it. “It is potentially the most significant innovation in mental health we’ve seen in decades,” Robb told ABC. “We would be derelict in our duty as a country if we didn’t take this opportunity to grab hold of this technology, and then see it’s introduced in a way which can potentially provide very significant benefit to many Australians.”
A study conducted by New York University in January found that psilocybin can reduce anxiety in patients up to five years after being taken. In 2019, scientists announced that they were harvesting the psychoactive compound for the first time, suggesting it might eventually be able to be mass-produced.
“When we come out of this (pandemic), there will literally be tens of thousands of people coming out the other end of this needing treatment and help,” Robb concluded, lamenting the government for not making “any major move forward in this mental health space for decades”.
Look back at the Dazed Beauty feature investigating the future of hallucinogenic drugs here.