There are several key measurables that we know about mental health in Australia: we know that nearly half of all Australians will have a mental illness at some stage of their life. We know that mental illness is the third leading cause of disease burden in Australia and its cost to the nation every year is about $60 billion. Those elements are quantifiable. But there are so many other things - vital things - that we don’t know about mental illness and we cannot quantify. And one of the questions that arise from that lack of knowledge is, are we looking in the right place for treatment and therapies? And most fundamental of all, is there a better way?
Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) was launched in February 2019 by Peter Hunt AM and Tania de Jong AM to explore a new approach that could offer a bold therapy option for some people battling mental illness, particularly long-standing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions.
Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies work on temporarily creating changes in the brain function that can shift perceptions and feelings long-term leading to 60-80% remissions from serious mental illnesses after just two-three doses in medically controlled environments. The best-known of the medicines are MDMA and psilocybin (otherwise known as magic mushrooms.) These therapies have already garnered significant interest in the major research universities around the globe, and MMA is part-funding a trial of psilocybin at St Vincent’s in Melbourne. MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD in in Phase 3 trials and has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Status by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA.
Peter was co-founder and chairman of Greenhill investment bank and Founder of Women’s Community Shelters, while his wife Tania is an award-winning social entrepreneur and professional soprano and speaker who has founded two previous charities: The Song Room and Creativity Australia, that is perhaps best known for its With One Voice community choirs which can be found around the nation.
Listen to Peter Hunt and Tania de Jong discuss Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) and the possibilities of psychedelic medicine treatments for mental illness in this two-part episode of the Philanthropy Australia podcast below.
Also, watch this two minute animation about why psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy needs to be available to those who are suffering.
Mind Medicine Australia’s International Summit on Psychedelic Therapies for Mental Illness will be held on the 18 and 19 November at the Sofitel in Melbourne preceded by a two-day Therapist Introductory Workshop with international leaders and teachers.