Plans For Therapeutic Psychedelics Program Begin In Oregon
Oregon's plans to allow regulated use of psilocybin to treat a variety of conditions, the first in the U.S., got underway this week. Meanwhile a study shows psychedelic self-medication is rising, and a new analysis shows a surge in the numbers of people seeking virtual mental health help during the pandemic.
Study Shows More People Use Psychedelics To Treat Mental Health Conditions
While usage of psychedelics is still considered an “underground movement” for people to self-treat their mental health conditions, according to a new study, it’s on the rise. According to the 2020 Global Drug Survey, 6,500 or an estimated six percent of the participants out of 110,000 said they using these substances to cope with their mental health. “LSD, MDMA, psilocybin and ketamine,” as reported by Vice, are some of the psychedelics being used to treat some of those who participated in the study. (Dalton, 3/16)
Governor Appoints Board To Oversee Oregon’s New Psychedelic Mushroom Program
Oregon’s first-in-the-nation program to allow regulated, therapeutic use of psilocybin got underway Tuesday when Gov. Kate Brown announced the members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board. The board will create the framework for the program outlined in Measure 109, which Oregon voters approved in November. The board includes doctors, researchers, therapists and fungi experts, among others, according to a press release. (Acker, 3/16)
House Reshapes Approach To Mental Health And Addiction
House lawmakers are restructuring their bipartisan task forces dedicated to combating the drug epidemic and expect the chamber to consider behavioral health legislation this year, members told CQ Roll Call. The push is spearheaded by four lawmakers in an effort to broaden the scope of legislative efforts beyond opioids to include all forms of addiction and mental health. (Raman, 3/16)
Virtual Mental Health Visits Skyrocket During Pandemic
Virtual behavioral health visits in the first half of 2020 were hundreds of times higher than the year before, according to a new analysis by Well Being Trust and Milliman. The number of total behavioral health visits — both in person and virtual — were generally within 20% of 2019 levels from January to August, even though in-person visits plunged. (Owens, 3/16)
Nearly 75% Of LGBTQ People Say COVID-19 Has Harmed Their Mental Health, Poll Finds
More LGBTQ people reported experiencing job loss and worsening mental health due to the pandemic compared with people who do not identify as LGBTQ, an analysis published last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found. The pandemic’s negative impact on mental health has been widely discussed by public health experts, but there has been a lack of data specific to how it has affected the LGBTQ community, said Lindsey Dawson, coauthor of the analysis and the associate director of HIV policy at KFF. The foundation has been polling Americans on how the pandemic has changed their lives for months, and after researchers began asking respondents whether they identify as LGBTQ, they were able to separate the data for further study. (Ao, 3/17)
Will Forte Suicide Drama Slammed By Mental Health Group As "Wildly Irresponsible"
Will Forte's suicide drama series is getting slammed by a mental health organization. The Last Man on Earth actor's new Peacock project Expiration Date — about a man who spends a year plotting his own demise — is being called "wildly irresponsible" by the nonprofit group Inseparable. “What a wildly irresponsible and callous concept that will, no doubt, endanger countless viewers,” said Inseparable founder Bill Smith in a statement. “Glamorizing suicide leads to contagion, that is a fact. At a time when our country is already suffering a mental health crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left Americans’ mental wellbeing at a two-decade low, the last thing we need is a reckless show hinged on the question of 'will he or won't he' succumb to the devastation of depression — an all too real and painful experience for millions of Americans." (Hibberd, 3/15)