Formation of Mindspace Accessibility Program also announced to help ensure equitable access to treatment
MONTREAL—Montreal clinic Mindspace Wellbeing has announced today that it is officially launching its psychedelic psychotherapy program, making ketamine-assisted psychotherapy available to the general public for the first time in Quebec. The announcement comes one year after Mindspace launched its Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration program (PHRI), which pairs trained therapists and coaches with individuals using psychedelics on their own for therapeutic benefit. Mindspace will now be expanding its offering to include actual supervised treatment in addition to psychedelic integration therapy, via the administration of ketamine, which is not currently subject to the same regulatory hurdles as some other psychedelic substances.
“We fully expect to be working with both MDMA and psilocybin for treating mental health issues like depression, PTSD, and addiction in the not too distant future,” says Dr. Joe Flanders, a clinical psychologist and the founder of Mindspace. “But the not too distant future is still a long way away for people who are really suffering, and ketamine is a tool that’s available right now, and which shows a lot of promise when administered mindfully and paired with the right kind of psychotherapy—particularly for relieving depression.”
The not too distant future is still a long way away for people who are really suffering, and ketamine is a tool that’s available right now. – Dr. Joe Flanders, Founder and Managing Partner, Mindspace
“The fact is that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and mindfulness-based approaches to well-being—which Mindspace has been working with for a decade—are hugely complementary and share an ethos that’s at the core of this paradigm shift we’re seeing in mental health, and health care in general,” says Andrew Rose, the Director of Group Mindfulness Programming and the PHRI program at Mindspace. “This is about moving away from a model that keeps people stuck and managing symptoms, and towards a curative treatment that really aims to get at the root of their issues once and for all.”
The clinic has recently expanded its team of health-care professionals from mainly psychologists to include family physicians, psychiatrists, and nurses. “This is really going to be an interdisciplinary endeavour,” says Dr. Flanders, who notes that it mirrors the integrative approach of the treatment itself. “If the idea is that we’re trying to solve these issues by treating the whole person, it makes sense that we would have a team that reflects that.”
The clinic has also announced the formation of a new initiative focused on ensuring equitable access to these treatments as well as its existing programming, called the Mindspace Accessibility Program (MAP). “We’re increasingly aware of the fact that often the people who suffer most are the ones who have the hardest time accessing treatment,” says Rose, who sees group programming as one way to eventually help combat this challenge. “Hopefully we’ll get to a point where mental health care is covered under an efficient public system, but until then we’re trying to get creative to find ways to get this care out to whomever needs it.”
We’re trying to get creative to find ways to get this care out to whomever needs it. – Andrew Rose, Director of Programming and Psychedelics, Mindspace
The new initiative includes formalizing a scholarship program that has always existed for its mindfulness groups, sliding scale individual treatment where possible, and the establishment of a fund that third parties can donate to in order to support the treatment of others. While somewhat unconventional, Flanders says this is actually quite consistent with Mindspace’s emerging model of well-being, as well as older, more traditional collective frameworks. “Taking care of yourself is important, we know that. But none of us exists in a vacuum. We’re social animals, and one of the things this pandemic has reinforced is just how important human connection is to our mental health and well-being. You really want to feel better? Take care of the people around you, find out what they need, and how you can help. And this isn’t just flowery aspiration or anecdotal lip-service—the science is telling us this.”
Mindspace plans to begin treatment of its first patients before the end of 2020.
Mindspace is a full-service well-being clinic offering psychological services, group programming and workshops, mindfulness training, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. It offers both virtual and in-persons services at its three brick-and-mortar locations in Montreal.