As psychedelic treatments become more mainstream, there is a need for new infrastructure to support the non-initiated through the treatment process, help them find treatment providers, connect with others seeking treatment, and ask questions. Osmind is a new mental health startup that is filling this niche by building an online platform, app, and community for patients seeking FDA-approved psychedelic medicine. At the time of this writing, ketamine is the only psychedelic substance with FDA approval, but many of us expect to see MDMA and psilocybin following suit in the next few years, further increasing the need for platforms such as Osmind. To learn more about this new psychedelic support network, we spoke with co-founders Lucia Huang and Jimmy Qian.
Thanks so much for speaking with us, Lucia and Jimmy. What’s the purpose of Osmind, in a nutshell?
L & J: We are committed to improving mental health care for those who need it most. We’re building a community and care platform for people with treatment resistant mental health disorders, their mental health providers, and those passionate about psychedelic medicine. We’ve launched the Osmind Community, which provides a safe space for people to ask for support when they need it and to provide support when others need it. The community also provides evidence-based, MD-verified information on treatment-resistant mental health and psychedelic medicine. We thought this was extra important during COVID-19, which has made mental health services and human-to-human connection even more important. To help with COVID, our community offers a free directory of treatment-resistant depression clinics (including ketamine and TMS) and their services (e.g. in-person, telemedicine, e-prescribing, etc.) during the pandemic.
We’ve already launched the Community, and in addition have an app coming out in June that will help improve the patient journey, enhance clinical care, and lower costs. Ultimately, we want to advance research of life-changing treatments including psychedelic medicine, interventional psychiatry, and other psychiatric approaches.
We will always provide these services for free to those suffering from mental health conditions.
What got you first interested in psychedelic treatments for depression?
L: We met in a healthcare IT class at Stanford University (Jimmy is in medical school and I’m in business school) and realized our shared passion for mental health. Our team has since grown to include a diverse group of individuals united by our shared mission to improve mental health. Some of our friends, family members, advisors, and team members have had depression and know first-hand how difficult things can be while feeling sad and alone. Some of us have gone through severe depression that was refractory to multiple lines of antidepressants, before finally being helped by innovative treatments like ketamine. I’ve personally immensely benefited from psychedelic therapies for both my wellness and mental health, and for connecting me with other people.
J: In addition to what Lucia said, as a medical student, I’ve been following the clinical data for psychedelic medicine like ketamine, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and psilocybin for a while. It’s astonishing how promising the data is. I’m really excited about the potential for these medicines to alleviate suffering. We need novel treatments in psychiatry, and I believe psychedelic medicine is a very promising frontier that may completely transform how we think about mental health care.
Ketamine is currently the only FDA-approved psychedelic treatment, but are you looking forward to branching out to MDMA and psilocybin clinics in the future, once they are approved?
L&J: Right now we are building solutions to help providers who administer and prescribe ketamine, as well as their clients. We definitely want to help people who receive and provide MDMA and psilocybin treatment when those options become available. We really hope that our software can improve access to innovative treatments for everyone and improve treatment experiences. We want to make sure psychedelic medicine is able to help those who need it most.
Our Community caters to anyone who has suffered from treatment-resistant mental health conditions or is interested in learning more about psychedelic medicines including MDMA and psilocybin. We hope to provide evidence-based content to help educate people about these options.
How can someone who needs help right now use Osmind to find treatment?
L&J: We know that COVID has really impacted many people. This has not been an easy time. As the future of society hangs in balance and many of us are limited by stay-at-home orders, it’s even more important that we provide support to one another.
Anyone can sign up for our Community. To help address interruptions of mental health care experienced by many TRD patients or exacerbation of mental health issues during COVID-19, we are offering a free directory of ketamine and TMS clinics and the services they offer during the pandemic (e.g. in-person care, telemedicine, e-prescribing).
Filled with mutual support, positivity, and empathy, the Community provides a forum for stakeholders to discuss — without judgment — treatments that can help heal people who have not gotten better from other therapies. These promising treatments include traditional psychiatric approaches, interventional approaches using various types of brain stimulation, and psychedelic medicine. The Osmind Community also features special guests who join the community to do Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) events, post content, and answer questions. Our first-ever AMA by a TRD expert from Stanford University Medical Center was a great success and we have an exciting pipeline of experts lined up for AMAs on various topics within mental health and psychedelic medicine. The Community offers wikis written by the Osmind team that provide unbiased, evidence-based information. Collaborative wikis are collectively written by Community members as people contribute their own valuable experiences and perspectives. Members are all deeply valued and enrich one another’s lives as they pool together their strength, perspectives, experiences, and knowledge towards healing and mental wellbeing.