“Imagine if each person suffering from a mental illness or witnessing someone close to them struggling with mental health could do something about it. If dollar by dollar, we could come together as a community and spark a mental health revolution by supporting the science and bringing it closer and closer to medicalization. Today that is possible.”
In the coming months, interested investors will be able to fund a mental health revolution though the FUNDAMENTAL crowdfunding campaign: a campaign with the goal of engaging a community of individuals to support scientific research related to the application of psychedelic compounds, and to help solve the global mental health crisis. Millions of people are suffering from various kinds of mental illness.
Rodrigo Niño, CEO and founder of Prodigy Network and a leading commercial real estate crowdfunding expert, is the sponsor of FUNDAMENTAL, a crowdfunding campaign launching on CrowdRise with administrative costs covered by Prodigy Network, is focused on backing government-approved national and global studies.
New studies offer promising relief for a variety of mood-altering illnesses, through an unlikely source: psychedelics. A group of scientists at prestigious research institutions including NYU, Johns Hopkins, MAPS and the Imperial College of London are conducting studies with psilocybin, MDMA and LSD to treat end-of-life distress, alcohol and drug addiction, PTSD, and find new applications for mental health.
“Over the past decade we have seen how the power of the internet has allowed us to connect in ways we never thought possible, yet disconnect in ways we never expected. Major technological advances of our time have brought forth universal struggles, like the mental health crisis that plagues our society today,” commented Niño. “From depression and anxiety, to addiction and trauma, many of those close to us are suffering. The exciting news is that current research on psychedelics is nally reaching the main- stream. Now it is time to do something about it. Crowdfunding has been one of the great advantages of our time. Books have been published, elections have been funded, projects have been nanced, and most importantly, communities have been built. I believe, however, that the true potential of crowdfunding has yet to be reached.”
In 2011, Niño was diagnosed with cancer—stage 3 Metastatic Melanoma—at age 41. After two surgeries, his odds of survival were about 1 in 3 over the next five years. He researched alternative medicines for end-of-life anxiety after learning that traditional medicine wasn’t provided the best solutions for him. After many sleepless nights of online research, he read a National Geographic article an Amazonian indigenous tribe and ayahuasca, a treatment for autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer. The next week Niño flew to Peru; after a ceremony that occurred in the Peruvian jungle, Niño finally felt relief from his end-of-life anxiety.
“Upon my return to New York, I went on a mission to find scientific validation to determine, if what had happened to me was some sort of placebo efect caused by the hallucinations, or if in fact, I had been physiologically cured by this mystical brew,” continued Niño. “In January 2015, I met Dr. Stephen Ross of Bellevue Hospital at New York University. He was working on a double- blind, placebo-controlled study to treat end-of-life anxiety in terminal cancer patients with psilocybin-assisted therapy. His research, confirming that psychedelics like psilocybin could potentially reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depres- sion associated with end-of-life distress, was exceptional. Diving deeper into the subject, I came across research from all over the world from the Beckley/Imperial Research Program to MAPS, which showed even more potential for a host of other mental illnesses. I knew then as I know now that this is some of the most important scientific work I had ever come across.”
Dr. Ross and Dr. Roland Griffiths published their Phase 2 trial papers on December 1, 2016, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. While this was taking place, Dr. Rick Doblin and MAPS received formal approval from the FDA to embark on the nal phase towards approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. FUNDAMENTAL’s first campaign aims to fund specific studies on End of Life Anxiety, Alcoholism and PTSD, led respectively by Dr. Ross.
“The most inspiring implication to me, however, is not only the revolutionary therapeutic benefits these powerful compounds have, but the fact that it is often correlated with mystical experiences, where patients report encountering an ultimate reality of interconnectedness with all people and things,” added Niño. “In my research I found that traditional sources of nancing for scientific research had little interest in funding trials of these natural compounds due to stigma and a lack of nancial incentive. That’s when I realized that donation based crowdfunding could enable families like mine—who have witnessed loved ones su er from fear of dying, or a debilitating mental illness like depression, alcoholism, or PTSD—to finally be able to do something about it.”
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