Dear Friends of TheraPsil, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Public,
At TheraPsil, our primary mission is to help Canadians in medical need, access psilocybin therapy. Since August 4th, 2020, we have successfully supported 13 individuals across Canada who are now legally allowed to access psilocybin therapy through section 56 exemptions.
While TheraPsil has been focused on advocating for Palliative Canadians, we have also, unofficially, begun advocating to help a broader class of patients such as those who struggle with psychological trauma that can often cause symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
On October 4th, 2020, the first non-palliative Canadian was granted access to psilocybin by way of a section 56 exemption, to treat her unresolved trauma. On November 5th, 2020, this patient was successfully treated with psilocybin therapy by psychotherapist, TheraPsil’s founder, Dr. Bruce Tobin.
“Everyone has trauma, some experience it when we are small and absorb it and it sits in us as we mature into adults. Because of the traumas of my past, I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and addiction for years. During my psilocybin therapy, I went deep, way back to when I was a little girl, and all those things that happened to me. All the unresolved trauma, it came back and I was beyond terrified, shaking uncontrollably and crying, however with my therapist Dr. Tobin, I conquered those tough memories and after a while I realized…. I ain't scared of Jack S**t….For the first time, I feel like I have won the battle in my mind and my anxiety and depression seem to be gone. The memories are not, but now I know they can't hurt me.”
- Mona Strelaeff, British Columbia, Canada’s First Non-Palliative Canadian to Access Legal Psilocybin Therapy
Pictured, left to right: Therapist Angela, Mona Strelaeff, Dr. Bruce Tobin
Mona’s exemption represents a historic moment in Canada and a groundbreaking progressive decision by Health Canada to broaden the class of patients who can access this treatment option, thus further enshrining the rights of Canadians.
While this is excellent news and represents a wealth of opportunities for the future of mental healthcare in Canada, it also represents an equal amount of challenges. TheraPsil has been backed-up with requests for support from patients, both palliative and non-palliative, since the initial August 4th decision, who are seeking access to legal psilocybin therapy. As a small, non-profit organization we need support to keep up with the anticipated increase in patient demand so we can facilitate an expanded mandate that upholds our high standards and protects the integrity of our process.
As such, in response to Health Canada’s groundbreaking decision to grant a section 56 exemption for one non-palliative individual, TheraPsil is seeking to fundraise. We will soon be launching a GoFundMe campaign with a goal to raise $250’000. We have already secured a generous donor who is willing to match with an additional $250’000 to reach our initial fundraising goal of $500’000, by December 31, 2020.
Part of the support we need is human resources and this is where we plan to dedicate most of the funds raised. We need nurses and physicians who can triage patients to ensure we are facilitating safe and equitable access to legal psilocybin therapy. We also need funding to help complete and launch our psilocybin therapy training program for Canadian clinicians, with an aim to roll out this program by January 1st 2021. If we are successful in our current advocacy campaign, clinicians and healthcare professionals will be granted section 56 exemptions by the end of this month, for training purposes. TheraPsil’s training program aims to be the first legal training program in Canada to offer experiential training - where trainees take psilocybin mushrooms and enter this non-ordinary state of consciousness first-hand.
Although one non-palliative individual has been granted access to psilocybin therapy, and we have been eager to share this with you all, we must be transparent about our current bandwidth and ability to support more non-palliative individuals, like Mona, at this time.
Unfortunately, at the current moment, we do not have the resources to broaden our inclusion criteria, and for the near future, we will remain open to only supporting palliative Canadians, those with a terminal illness or those in remission from a life-threatening illness (i.e Cancer survivors) who suffer from end-of-life distress, as our website indicates. We are a patient-first organization and in order to maintain the integrity of our process and maintain the high standards of support we provide to patients, we must ensure we expand our services in accordance with our means and ability to provide safe and equitable care.
However, rest assured, our full intention is that through meeting our fundraising goal, we will soon be able to announce new patient inclusion criteria and broaden access so we can support more Canadians, like Mona, who suffer from complex trauma and various mental health conditions and symptoms.
We are so grateful for the support of the psychedelic community, the Federal Government, many Canadian MP’s, the patients we have supported, our small but mighty clinical and operations team, and the hundreds of Canadians who have advocated alongside us. Your support has allowed us to get this far and there is so much work to still be done! Every small step forward and every patient who is granted an exemption, is a win for compassionate access and we are deeply dedicated to continuing the pursuit of our four pillar mission, for the benefit of all Canadians:
- COMPASSIONATE ACCESS: Establish safe, compassionate, and legal access to psychedelic-assisted therapy for those in medical need.
- PUBLIC EDUCATION: Increase awareness of the general public and health care professionals about the merits and limitations of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
- PROFESSIONAL TRAINING: Developing safe, simple, and effective protocols for credentialed health professionals across Canada to deliver psilocybin-assisted therapy, in collaboration with other active organizations.
- RESEARCH: Facilitate research and evaluation, in collaboration with Canadian and international partners.
If you meet our current criteria, please continue to contact us for support. We are here to help and want to hear from you.
To Psilocybin Therapy,
- Spencer Hawkswell, CEO of TheraPsil & The TheraPsil Coalition