As cryptocurrencies, blockchain, non fungible token initiatives, the Metaverse, and other online communities gain popularity, the globe is becoming more connected. However, rates of depression and feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise. This is not a causal development, but it is something to ponder as younger generations get more active in virtual worlds. The global epidemic of COVID-19 has exacerbated a national mental health crisis. According to Mental Health America, 47.1 million people in the United States have a mental health issue. That’s one out of every five Americans.
When famous psychologist and writer Timothy Leary was named the most dangerous man in America by President Richard Nixon in 1970, he ordered a halt to all psychedelic research. He started the drug war and convinced society that these psychoactive medicinal fungus were the work of the devil. Scientific research on the benefits of psychedelics was put on hold for twenty years before researchers could resume their studies. Psychedelics are now generating headlines, and the efficacy of the treatments is possibly the best known to science. It’s a good place to be.
Patients can benefit from psychedelic therapies, such as those being researched professionally by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, the Center for Psychedelic Medicine in NYU Langone’s Department of Psychiatry, the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, and other institutions. Recovery rates are increasing with low dosages of psychedelic medication, and individuals are getting better on their own.
On top of that, there is a lot of buzz in the Metaverse. Dr. Muir is creating virtual programmes for psychoeducation and group therapy with the goal of meeting patients where they are and supporting them through their journey in the most secure way possible. Dr. Muir’s team wishes to dismantle cultural obstacles and stigmas that are common in doctor-patient relationships. Using an avatar to represent patients and doctors is one approach to accomplish this. When a doctor is both a licensed professional and represented by a panda avatar, people’s perceptions of who they are, where they come from, and what they need shift. It’s the first time — dare I say, in the history of the United States — that patients will have access to consistent care.
Several NFT projects are creating a name for themselves in the realm of mental health. Users can acquire a mental health assistance ticket through the AstroMojis NFT project’s Discord group. Psilo, a 3D avatar NFT initiative, is contributing a portion of its income to non-profits researching psychedelics for mental health therapies. Other NFT efforts, such as Psychedelics Anonymous, provide community support for Metaverse exploration by developing online networks in which everyone is equal and egos are checked at the entrance.