Psychedelic-assisted therapies for mental illness: why innovation in treatment is needed now more than ever

Posted on 24 August 2021
By Tegan Carrison, Executive Director, AAPi

Mind Medicine Australia is pleased to invite you to participate in an important educational webinar for AAPi members. 

Wed 22nd Sep 2021, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm AEST

Register here.

Psychedelic-assisted therapies for mental illness: why innovation in treatment is needed now more than ever


Dr Stuart Saker, General Adult Psychiatrist with an interest in Veterans' Mental Health 

Tania de Jong AM, Co-Founder and Executive Director Mind Medicine Australia, Creativity Australia, Creative Universe and The Song Room

Pre-Covid 1 in 5 people in Australia were suffering from a mental illness. At least 1 in 8 adults, 1 in 4 older adults in 1 in 30 children are on anti-depressant medications currently, and often without disclosure of potential side effects. There has been no innovation in existing treatments for 5 decades. The lack of effective treatments has most certainly contributed to Australia’s devastating mental health statistics, which position Australia as second worst amongst all OECD nations, only ahead of Iceland. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic many more Australians are experiencing anxiety, trauma, addiction, depression, loneliness and social isolation, and suicide rates could significantly increase in the absence of innovation in treatments.

In the quest for new treatment options for mental illness and psychiatric disorders, attention is being paid to the potential role of psychedelic medicines as adjuncts to psychotherapy for a wide array of conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and some addictions. Trials are also underway for dementia, Parkinson’s, strokes, cluster headaches, OCD and eating disorders. A proactive approach to broadening the treatment options available for people who have a mental illness is desperately needed.

This keynote and Q & A Session is presented by Mind Medicine Australia. The session will provide an engaging and educational update incorporating new learnings, science and data about innovative, safe and effective treatments being used in a practical clinical setting. It will also provide information on how to access the TGA’s SAS-B pathway for psilocybin and MDMA assisted therapies for treatment-resistant patients on a case-by-case basis.

Learning objectives:

  • Understanding the causes and severity of our mental health epidemic
  • The urgent need for expanding treatment options for medical practitioners and their patients
  • Identify the psychedelic medicines and how and why they work in the brain
  • Acknowledgement of the role of psychotherapeutic input alongside the medicine itself
  • Illustrate the overview of evidence from over 160 recent trials
  • Ascertain the potential applications in depression, anxiety, trauma and addiction
  • Clarification of the profile of people most likely to benefit and assessment of those who might experience adverse effects
  • Understand key issues that remain to be elucidated about the potential use of psychedelics in the clinical environment
  • Learn about the current policy and regulatory environment and how you can help make a difference
  • Future directions and next steps to advance the field in Australia
  •  For more information, please visit

Register here.

More About Medicinal MDMA

Psychedelic-assisted treatments offer enormous potential in providing a meaningful alternative to current treatments for mental illness. PTSD is a debilitating condition that affects tens of millions of people worldwide, with many more trauma victims diagnosed with comorbid conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. In recent clinical trials, MDMA has been shown to produce reliable clinical improvements, restoring patient safety and self-agency even for individuals who have suffered with PTSD for many years, and for whom many treatments have failed.

Results from Phase 2 clinical trials over the past decade have been so compelling that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States recently designated MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a ‘Breakthrough Therapy’. This designation highlights the FDA’s anticipation that these therapies may offer substantial advantage over current treatments. If forthcoming Phase 3 results confirm these treatments are effective, MDMA-assisted treatment of PTSD may become a prescription medicine as early as 2021 in some jurisdictions.

The wave of clinical psychedelic research and regulatory support is rapidly building, with experts forecasting the availability of psychedelic-assisted treatments in the US and EU within the next 2 to 5 years, subject to positive clinical outcomes in large trials that are currently underway.

More About the Presenters

Dr Stuart Saker
General Adult Psychiatrist with an interest in Veterans' Mental Health 

Stuart Saker is a general adult psychiatrist working in the Lake Macquarie area near Newcastle, New South Wales. He did medicine at Sydney University and did Psychiatry training in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has been an Army Medical Officer and deployed 5 times. He has many veteran and first responders patients. He did MAPS training in MDMA assisted psychotherapy in Israel in 2008.

Tania de Jong AM  
LL.B (Hons), GradDipMus  
Founder & Deputy Chair of Mind Medicine Australia

Tania de Jong AM is a trail-blazing Australian soprano, award-winning social entrepreneur, creative innovation catalyst, spiritual journey woman, storyteller and global speaker. Tania is one of Australia’s most successful female entrepreneurs and innovators developing 5 businesses and 3 charities over the past 3 decades. She is Founder and Executive Producer of future-shaping events series, Creative Innovation Global. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2008 and named one of the 100 Women of Influence and the 100 Australian Most Influential Entrepreneurs in 2018.

Register here.