By Javier Hasse
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on most of humanity. However, frontline workers were among the most exposed to the gravity of such a dire situation, and therefore, among the most impacted by it.
According to The Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine, 61% of healthcare workers reported “fear of exposure or transmission, 38% reported anxiety/depression, 43% suffered work overload, and 49% had burnout.” The figures came from a poll conducted between May 28 and October 1, 2020, among 20,947 healthcare workers from 42 organizations.
Seeking to help improve frontline clinicians’ situations, psychedelics-focused biotech company Cybin and the University of Washington are co-sponsoring a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy with psilocybin for frontline clinicians experiencing COVID-related distress.
The main goal of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of symptoms of depression, anxiety, burnout and post-traumatic stress among frontline doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals.
The trial, led by Dr. Anthony Back, will take place in Seattle, Washington, a city that was substantially impacted by COVID-19 in its early days.
To support the initiative, Cybin and its scientists, Alex Belser, Ph.D. and Bill Brennan, Ph.D. candidate, developed EMBARK, a “transdiagnostic psychotherapy model that can be adapted to address a range of clinical indications and populations.”
“EMBARK is a ground-breaking psychotherapy model that integrates leading clinical approaches to promote supportive healing with psychedelic medicine,” management explained.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Anthony Back added, “There is tremendous potential in a collaboration between the University of Washington and Cybin to move the field forward, and this project is an incredibly valuable initial step towards a productive future.”
“Our nation’s doctors, nurses and clinicians have been shouldering the burden of COVID-19 by taking care of the sickest among us. They’re experiencing high levels of anxiety, depression and burnout. Now it’s our turn to help them,” concluded Dr. Alex Belser, Cybin’s chief clinical officer. “We are sponsoring research to see if psychedelic medicine, when used with EMBARK’s supportive therapy, can help clinicians recover from COVID-related distress.”