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The award-winning documentary, ‘From Shock to Awe’ shines light on the use of cutting-edge psychedelic medicines to treat mental illness in war veterans. The Australian Psychedelic Society (APS) is premiering the documentary across Australia with a panel of guest speakers, thanks to sponsorship from Vasudhara, Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM) and Aadii Mesh Foundation. BACKGROUND In 2018, an alarming report published by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows the impact of service on the mental health of veterans, with 46 percent of veterans who left the Australian Defence Force (ADF) experiencing a mental disorder within 5 years. The most common problem is anxiety, with one in three veterans saying they experienced symptoms. The other common illnesses were post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 18 percent), panic attacks (17 percent) and depression (12 percent). Suicide also represents a major issue, with one in five veterans experiencing suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts. For males under 30, the completed suicide rates of veterans who left service are 17 percent above the national average (graph taken from the ABC). PSYCHEDELIC MEDICINES - A NEW FRONTIER IN MENTAL HEALTH After more than 50 years of dormancy, a new psychedelic revolution is taking place. Initial studies show that psychedelic drugs, including ayahuasca (traditional amazonian brew), psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and MDMA have profound effects in alleviating mental illness. They also work in a vastly different manner to traditional psychiatric medications. Neuroscientist, Dr Dean Wright states that “Traditional psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants require daily use, have many side-effects, and are not much more efficacious than placebo. In contrast, psychedelic therapies require between one and three doses in total, with effects lasting up to four years after the final dose.” St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne and Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM) have launched an Australian first clinical trial using psilocybin to treat anxiety and depression associated with a terminal illness. In the USA, MDMA-therapy for PTSD has been designated a “breakthrough treatment” by the FDA. It appears imminent that these therapies will be approved as medicines. FROM SHOCK TO AWE The film follows veterans, Matt Kahl and Mike Cooley, through their challenging post-war lives, shattered by the trauma of war. It also explores the impact on their wives, Aimee and Brooke. The vets struggle with anxiety, fear, depression, anger, unable to find equilibrium with society and with their families. After confronting death multiple times, our heroes set out on a journey to treat their mental illness with Ayahuasca and MDMA. “I tried everything...all the medications, EMDR, exposure therapy, talk therapy, group therapy and the truth is, none of it worked. It was ruining my family,” says Veteran Matt Kahl. Brooke Cooley goes further stating, “Ayahuasca and MDMA saved me, my husband and my family. Had psychedelic therapy not come into our lives, not only would Mike and I be divorced, but there is a solid chance that one or both of us wouldn’t be alive.” FILM SCREENING & PANEL DISCUSSION The Australian Psychedelic Society will host the Australian premier screening of ‘From Shock to Awe’ across 5 cities. Following the film there will be a Q&A with Mitch Schultz, the film’s Transmedia Producer and Major Steve McDonald, an Australian war veteran who utilised psychedelic medicines to successfully treat his depression and PTSD. EVENT DETAILS BYRON BAY: Sunday August 18th, 2.30pm The Byron Theatre Facebook event Tickets = $30/$25 concession BRISBANE: Saturday 24th August, 1.30pm Kindler Theatre, QUT, Brisbane Facebook event. Tickets = $20-$25 ADELAIDE: Saturday 31st August, 2.30pm Mercury Theatre, 13 Morphett St, Adelaide Facebook event Tickets = $20-$25 SYDNEY: Saturday 7th September, 12.30pm Giant Dwarf, 199 Cleveland St, Redfern Facebook event Tickets = $20-$30 MELBOURNE Saturday 14th September, 12.30pm The State Library Theatrette, Melbourne Facebook event Tickets = $20-$25