Despite the fact that antidepressant use has doubled in England in the last decade, there have been no significant developments in mental health treatments since SSRI antidepressants were developed over 50 years ago.
This is where psilocybin comes in.
Recent clinical data has shown that just one single dose of psilocybin (alongside psychotherapy sessions) can reduce the distress of those with terminal illness and treatment-resistant depression, with no other intervention shown to have such significant long-term benefits after just a single exposure.
It’s a game-changing breakthrough that could transform the lives of millions of people in the UK – but only if the government heeds the science and relaxes restrictions around studying the tightly controlled compound.
And that’s the message of a new campaign launched by the Psilocybin Access Rights (PAR) campaign, which is asking the public to consider the potential of psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat a range of conditions, from depression and anxiety to substance use disorders and cluster headaches.
They will do this with a digital poster campaign in London that asks the public “Could magic mushrooms be medicine?”.
The campaign comes hot on the heels of Australia’s decision to reschedule psilocybin and MDMA for use in psychotherapy, making it the first country to take this step.
Now, the PAR campaign is calling on the UK government to follow suit, arguing that the outdated stigma surrounding these traditionally stigmatised substances is preventing much-needed innovation in mental health care.
Mental health revolution
At the heart of the campaign is the belief that psilocybin could offer a revolutionary new approach to treating mental health conditions that has been sorely lacking in the UK.
However, psilocybin is currently a class A drug and a schedule 1 substance, making it very difficult for researchers and medical professionals to access. The PAR campaign argues that this needs to change, and is urging the UK public to sign its petition calling for the rescheduling of psilocybin as a medicine.
The good news is that the campaign is already making progress, with more than 10,000 signatures on the petition triggering a response from the government.
It’s a critical moment in the fight to bring psilocybin to the forefront of mental health care in the UK. With Prince Harry recently admitting that he had undertaken psychedelic therapy, and Australia leading the way in rescheduling these substances, the time has come for the UK to take action.
It’s time to put people’s wellbeing first and leave outdated stigma behind.