Depression is a worldwide burden

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the developed world. In Switzerland, it affects nearly 30% of the population at least once during their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, often leading to disability. Close to 800’000 people die due to suicide every year.

Unfortunately, current treatments are not helping everyone. Only about 50% of the patients respond to current medication. Furthermore, available medication mainly reduces symptoms. As a consequence, they have to be taken constantly.

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New medication needed

We urgently need new approaches and medication to treat depression. However, the pharmaceutical industry has not found any new promising drug candidates in the last years and are therefore decreasing their efforts in this field. The psychedelic drug psilocybin, the main active ingredient of the so-called «magic mushrooms» could be a new hope through a new mechanism of action for treating depression. Preliminary studies suggested that psilocybin not only leads to sustained symptom reduction, but also to lasting changes in behavior and increased quality of life for 3-6 months after only one or two doses.

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World’s first placebo-controlled psilocybin study in depression

We plan to conduct the world’s first placebo-controlled psilocybin study for the treatment of depression. We are scientific leaders in the field of neuropsychopharmacology and psychedelic research and already received a major part of the funding that we need to perform the study. However, the costs now turn out to be higher than expected. We are thus asking you to contribute to making this innovative study happen. We can’t do the study without your help.

A Swiss tradition

Switzerland is the right place to do such groundbreaking research. The Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zürich («Burghölzli»), where we work, is the home of scientific research into psychedelics since the 1950s. Furthermore, it has a long-standing and internationally well-recognized tradition in the study of novel psycho-pharmacological treatments for psychiatric diseases. Notably, psilocybin has been first isolated from magic mushrooms and synthesized right here in Switzerland in 1959 by the famous Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann (the father of LSD).

We are confident that our study might lead to a novel form of therapy to treat depression one day. Help us make this a reality!

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