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Canada once again sets the bar for accessible and effective mental health treatments, research, and training.

Mental health has long been a field of medicine that rarely gets the funding that is sorely needed. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience some manner of mental health problem or illness within their lifetime. These problems do not seem to be relegated to any particular race, class, or creed— instead experienced by all, at any time, and for an untold number of reasons. However, whether or not you can afford appropriate care and treatment is another story. Which is where psychedelics may come into play.

These naturally occurring substances are off patent, meaning that they can be produced and disseminated cheaply, the likelihood of overdose, adverse reaction, or addiction is essentially nil, and recent studies suggest that the efficacy of psychedelics in treating mental illness like depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and more, is incredibly high. Which could mean that in the future of psychedelic therapy— anyone could afford great mental healthcare, in such a way that doesn’t interfere with their own schedules or budgets. Now all we need are providers that are trained in how to assist. Luckily, Canada has answered that call, offering a training course for mental healthcare providers interested in psychedelic therapies. So if you’ve ever found yourself asking “what is microdosing? Could it benefit me?” Or “Who can I talk to about microdosing in Canada?” You may now be able to contact a fully trained professional to help field these queries and more.

Why Therapists Need Training

These programs aren’t just an exciting opportunity for anyone who is interested in psychedelic therapy— both clients and practitioners alike— they are also an important part of pushing for better, more informed policy regarding psychedelic therapy. Despite the push in the last few years to better explore therapy options using psychedelics like ketamine and PTSD treatment, or microdosing mushrooms, Canada and other countries that are promoting the studies are still having to fight against prohibitive legislation.

Largely because so much of the information available is anecdotal at best, as gaining the legal right to study these treatments and finding the funding to perform those studies has been almost impossible. But as more users and therapists come forward with positive results, more studies are allowed, and better research is gathered— these therapies could easily transition into mainstream treatment options, helping to shed the stigma that has long been associated with psychedelic use.

In order to really be able to gain necessary insight and provide the opportunity for the best results possible, it helps immensely to properly train the mental health professionals that could guide future patients into a better mental space. This is why standard mental health providers are rigorously trained and certified to begin with. So it makes sense that any new treatment options within the field should be accompanied by specific training programs.

What a Psychedelic Training Program Looks Like

The initial training camp began in March of 2021, and lasted three months. Following the first round of training, the program was showered with impressive reviews and positive sentiment as many of the providers that attended were pleased with the program’s structure and efficacy. Following the 2020 pandemic and associated lockdowns, mental health providers across Canada, and the world, have announced growing concern of the possibility of another impending pandemic— one of profound mental health disturbances and problems.

AS many look for better tools and more effective training to treat this new wave of depression, anxiety, and PTSD that the global lockdown measures have wrought. While psychedelics have garnered massive attention and positive results, particularly from laypeople and those self-medicating with mushroom capsules— professionals in the field are looking for the empirical evidence from research and careful data collection to truly shore up their beliefs and better inform treatment regimens. Which is where the ATMA Journey’s Center and Wayfound Mental Health Group are looking to help. Particularly by using existing and novel research to help shape the training programs they offer.

Part of which involves each professional undergoing legal psychedelic therapy themselves. In order to not only help further research, but also to gain a better understanding of what these therapies entail. Because of the program’s extraordinary response, there is now a long waiting list to get involved into future programs. Further supporting the idea that these therapies do indeed fill a need within the mental health space. On top of undergoing psychedelic therapy themselves, participants also get access to lectures and guest speakers conducted by some of the most innovative and influential players in the psychedelic therapy realm. This allows them to gain a 360 degree view of what psychedelic therapy actually looks like, how microdosing guides could improve global access to the therapies, and how to best guide patients undergoing these therapies.

What This Means for Mental Health

Canada already is considered home to a number of online medicinal mushroom dispensaries, having cropped up several years ago, these sites often go unfettered by police and governing agencies. Which means that as a Canadian, gaining full mushroom capsule benefits isn’t all that difficult. A standard mushroom dispensary will often offer mushroom capsules in order to better facilitate microdosing schedules, as the practice involves ingesting fairly precise amounts of psychedelics.

While it is still possible to buy shrooms, Canada mental health experts have suggested that large doses should still be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional, and that anyone interested in psychedelic therapy should talk with their doctor first. However, microdosing allows interested parties to take small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of the psychoactive substance psilocybin. Which means that there is an even lower chance of adverse reactions to the mushrooms. Making it even more viable for lay people and mental health sufferers to gain access to beneficial mental health programs that they might otherwise be unable to secure.