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Are 'magic mushrooms' the future of depression treatment?

News round-up by Conor D'Andrade

According to the most extensive study of its kind, one dose of a synthetic version of psilocybin – a hallucinogenic compound produced by “magic mushrooms” – can reduce symptoms of depression when supplemented with psychological support.

The study consisted of 233 international participants who had found traditional antidepressants ineffective in treating their symptoms.

These participants were assigned to one of three doses of the synthetic psilocybin named COMP360.

They were also provided with a therapist to prepare them for the 6-8 hour clinically supervised hallucinogenic “trip”.

A third of participants who received a 25mg dose of COMP360 alongside psychological support were in remission after three weeks.

This was the largest dose given to any of the three groups, with the 25mg group showing the most significant response and reduction in the severity of symptoms within 24 hours of treatment.

After 12 weeks, a clinical effect could still be observed, however, this was not statistically significant.

Worker productivity negatively impacted by children's mental health – study

A national study from the US has found that employees’ work productivity and performance is negatively affected by their children’s poor mental health.

Additionally, it has found that the large majority of working parents are still concerned for their children’s mental health.

Parents reported daily work and long-term career disruptions as major consequences of their child having mental health symptoms.

For those parents who felt they are now in a position where they must choose between their job and their child, 32% said they had quit or changed their job over the past two years due to their child’s mental health.

Interestingly, significantly more Black/African-American parents (37%) reported having to change work arrangements due to their child’s mental health when compared with white parents (26%).

The organisation that conducted the study, On Our Sleeves, has called for employers to collaborate with employees to address the impact their child’s mental health has on their work.

"We're seeing that caregivers will choose family over work if the mental health needs of their child are involved, and so the U.S. workforce will continue to be affected by paediatric mental health," said Clinical Director of On Our Sleeves, Dr Ariana Hoet.

“Our kids are having a hard time and, as a result, their caregivers are too. Equipping caregivers and their employers with resources to address youth mental health is key to our path forward."

Calls for recognition of link between domestic abuse and suicide

A coroner from the UK has urged the government to recognise the link between domestic abuse and suicide after the death of a woman from East Yorkshire.

Coroner Lorraine Harris concluded that Jessica Laverack, aged 34, had a history of domestic abuse and self-harm.

Following an inquest of Jessica Laverack’s death, Ms Harris wrote to the government requesting a “joint approach” between agencies to provide help to those deemed to be at risk of suicide due to abuse.

Harris stated that there is "a need for the recognition of the link between domestic abuse and suicide".

Ms Harris cited the lack of any "appropriate, co-ordinated approach" alongside "inadequate information sharing", as indirectly contributing to Jessica Laverack’s death.

This likely exacerbated the harm caused by "a series of incidents" where Jessica Laverack’s former and abusive partner attempted to obtain her address.

Head of Policy at the charity Women's Aid, Lucy Hadley said:

“It is critical that, where someone has died by suicide and there has been a known history of domestic abuse, it is recognised as a 'victim suicide'."

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