As we are all pretty well aware by now, the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a wave of mental health crises, worsening experiences for people who already struggled with mood regulation, and bringing on first brushes with anxiety and depression for others. Yet our societies are ill-equipped to handle this huge upswing in mental health needs. This is particularly true in the U.S.
, where our healthcare system has already been buckling under the weight of medical care alone for generations.
Without enough therapists, health insurance companies that attempt to avoid sufficiently covering therapy visits, and yet millions and millions of people who are suffering, clearly something needs to shift
. One possibility that researchers have been eyeing for decades is the promise held by psychedelics.
If these naturally-occurring compounds truly can help, we need to know now and we need access soon. We must help people's mental health recover from the pain and isolation caused by years of COVID! Sign the petition to demand that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) prioritize funding for mental health research on psychedelics!
The NIH has already green-lit
a project to study the effects of psilocybin, a compound found in many fungi-based psychedelics
, to see if it can help people quit smoking. Since smoking is associated with addiction, which is a compulsive behavioral disorder, it's really just a step away from looking at the psychotherapeutic benefits that psychedelics could provide in other situations.
This represents the first time in 50 years that the federal U.S. government has funded research about psychedelics and their healing abilities. But even before this moment, privately-funded research showed exciting results
. Scientists are discovering how psilocybin can help positively rewire the brain and build new connections that might otherwise have been stunted by adverse life events. Psilocybin also helps promote serotonin in the brain, which is the "happy" chemical that most antidepressants aim to boost.
If we want to help people recover and adjust to a healthy life post-COVID, then we need to have the proper resources now. So far, it seems like psychedelics could truly be part of that recovery journey. Let's make sure it's safe and easy to access the tools we need to combat anxiety and depression!Tell the NIH to fund more studies examining the possible benefits of psychedelics for mental health!