Scientists say MDMA could help treat mental illness in the post-lockdown world

Culture 18/04/2020

Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic had major negative effects on global physical health and the economy, but it will also have major effects on mental health too.

Being in forced lockdown away from our family and mates, combined with loss of income and a feeling of general lack of direction during these times will undoubtedly lead to an increase in feelings of anxiety and depression, especially for those with pre-existing conditions. 

This is something that needs to be addressed just as much as physical health, and Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) board member Andrew Robb is pushing a campaign to introduce MDMA and psilocybin (an ingredient found in magic mushrooms) as possible treatments for mental illness in a post-lockdown world. 

MMA, a not-for-profit which aims to "establish safe and effective psychedelics treatments", is urging the Australian Government to establish a mental health taskforce for COVID-19 and wants these treatments to be on the table when it happens.

Psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin have already shown promise as treatments for depression and anxiety in a number of trials, so it’s not a huge leap to make. 

“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.”

Once the world finally starts to go back to normal after all of this, it will take some time for us to all adjust, and substances such as MDMA and psilocybin could have the potential to reduce some of the lockdown mental illness. The video below is from MMA explaining their theory for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.