Scientists are advocating MDMA to treat mental health following lockdown

Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) are calling on the Australian Government to offer MDMA and psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) treatment as part of its mental health support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia has recently seen a rise in people seeking mental health treatment for issues like depression, anxiety, and stress following the recent bushfire crisis and subsequent pandemic.

mdma, mental health
Image: Wikipedia Commons

Mind Medicine Australia is calling on the Australian Government to offer MDMA and psilocybin therapy as part of its mental health response to the pandemic.

MMA is a charity which supports scientific research into psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Speaking to the ABC, MMA board member Andrew Robb described the therapy as “potentially the most significant innovation in mental health we’ve seen in decades.”

Last week, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt created a new Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service via Beyond Blue, which offers 24/7 digital and phone support to those in need. MMA is now advocating for the government to offer psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy as part of its support.

“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,” Robb described.

“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.”

Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology indicated that a single dose of psilocybin can reduce the symptoms of depression for up to five years.

In the US, clinical trials for both MDMA and psilocybin in the treatment for disorders like PTSD and major depressive disorder have been conducted. The FDA has since approved early access to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with life-threatening psychological conditions.

Similarly, a second round of psilocybin trials have been approved, with psilocybin granted a “breakthrough” designation – given to drugs which demonstrate evidence of significant impact – in order to expedite its review.

In contrast, Robb has lamented what he sees as a mental health pandemic in Australia, describing: “There has not been any major move forward in this mental health space for decades.”

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