Promoting BIPOC Voices in Psychedelics: SoundMind Featured in Frontiers of Psychiatry

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SoundMind is excited to share this important piece by Dr. Darron T. Smith at The University of Memphis, which features SoundMind as an important leader in the space of equitable access to psychedelic medicine. See excerpts below, and find the full piece here.

In the US and Canada, historical and contemporary racial mistreatment is frequently experienced by Black people via a variety of macro and micro insults. Such experiences trigger physiological responses of anxiety and fear, which are associated with chronically elevated stress hormone levels (e.g., cortisol and epinephrine), similar to levels documented among those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This paper explores the benefits of entheogens within psychedelic-assisted therapy and their potential benefits in addressing the sequelae of pervasive and frequent negative race-based experiences and promoting healing and thriving among Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). The author(s) discuss the ethical responsibility for providing psychedelic-assisted therapy within a culturally competent provider framework and the importance of psychedelic researchers to recruit and retain BIPOC populations in research and clinical training.

Being Black in the US still means learning to live with the persistent threat of race-based stress in the form of slights, slurs, insults, violence, and even death. A single negative racialized event can certainly trigger post-traumatic stress disorder, but the cumulative effects of racial trauma in the Black community are often the catalyst for a transformative traumatic event.

Racial events include a direct physical assault, a traumatic event (or trauma-inducing experiences) involving close family members as well as individuals frequently exposed to graphic details about trauma. Racially traumatizing events may comprise experiences such as relentless microaggressions, police profiling, and also systemic racism in law enforcement, healthcare, and education. Black people throughout the US and Canada experience some form of racial microaggression as a near daily occurrence from the micro to the macro levels of society, including cultural and historical traumas… Ongoing racial dehumanization weathers the brain, mind, and body, leaving deep intergenerational scars at the molecular level. Those affected by racial trauma frequently report both psychological and physical symptoms that are associated with PTSD including trauma-related emotional arousal and reactivity (e.g., hypervigilance, irritability), labile mood, intrusive thoughts, exaggerated startle response, flashbacks, and sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and nightmares.

As the decriminalization and legalization of psychedelics become more commonplace, dedicated spaces that uplift and prioritize BIPOC voices and well-being are paramount to the evolution of the field of psychedelics… There are several sites in the US (Table 3) which are specifically focused on providing this expanded access to care for people of color.

SoundMind is also on the list for expanded MDMA access, and is a collective of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and community organizers among others, dedicated to providing affordable, accessible, inclusive mental health care to Philadelphians, especially those who typically face marginalization within the healthcare system.

Continue reading here.

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