An emerging trend in the US sees companies incorporating an unconventional approach to employee mental health benefits: psychedelic therapy in the workplace.
Over 50 firms have expressed interest in this, championed by a startup named Enthea, which serves as an intermediary for health insurance plans, uniquely integrating psychedelic healthcare into workplace benefits.
Such plans cover alternative treatments for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression using substances such as ketamine, and soon, in certain states, psilocybin.
Evidence of its effectiveness emerges from Dr. Bronner’s, a natural soap company. Approximately 7% of their 320 staff opted for ketamine-assisted therapy.
Following this, anonymous feedback indicated substantial improvements: 86% in PTSD symptoms, 67% in depressive disorder symptoms, and a 65% decrease in generalised anxiety disorder indicators.
This inclination towards psychedelic therapeutic interventions isn’t isolated to smaller companies.
Renowned personalities like Elon Musk have acknowledged using ketamine in regulated doses for depression relief.
Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, has been associated with consuming magic mushrooms, which contain psilocybin.
Prominent institutions, such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, underscore the efficacy of psychedelics.
Their research indicates that psilocybin-assisted therapy can notably reduce depression symptoms, lasting up to a year, especially in cases where other treatments have been ineffective.
Sherry Rais, Enthea’s CEO, highlighted a shift in perspectives on psychedelics, driven by a dire need for alternative mental health solutions.
With the FDA’s endorsement, startups have enthusiastically opened ketamine clinics countrywide.
However, Enthea emphasises the importance of accompanying therapy, ensuring clinics provide holistic care.
Legal landscapes are adapting. States like Oregon and Colorado have endorsed the adult use of psilocybin, with California set to deliberate a similar proposal in 2024.
Other states, spanning the political spectrum, are contemplating research or therapeutic applications of these substances.
Dave Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s and a long-standing advocate for psychedelics, summarises the sentiment: psychedelic therapy, offer a profound way to confront deep-seated traumas and existential challenges, which is vital given the escalating mental health crisis, particularly in the workplace.