Psychedelic harm reduction services by PsyCare

PsyCare UK is a registered charity that provides welfare and harm reduction services at music festivals and events throughout the UK and internationally, and has been operating for over 10 years. PsyCare provides a compassionate and sensitive welfare service that meets the needs of all festival goers but we specialize in managing the psychedelic crisis. 

“We recognise that psychedelic experiences can have profound effects upon people and therefore that difficult psychedelic experiences must be handled with special care and consideration. We have developed a unique skill-set that enables us to effectively manage these challenging experiences in a way that minimises unnecessary hospitalisation or medication, whilst giving the individual the best possible opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.”

PsyCare UK provides a peaceful, friendly sanctuary in the midst of the sometimes hectic festival environment. We are always open to provide information and support to anyone that needs it. From crisis intervention for people who may be in profoundly disturbed mental states, to support for the lonely with a hot cuppa and a chat, PsyCare UK aims to consistently support the wellbeing of all festival goers.

Although most drug use at festivals is intended for enjoyment, some drug experiences can cause a person to be physically and mentally vulnerable; to experience feelings of fear, paranoia, delusion, discomfort and even psychosis; creating the potential for people to be a danger to themselves and others.

Difficult experiences arising from psychedelic drug use may require specialist intervention due to the mental crises and altered states of consciousness they can induce. People on a strong psychedelic “trip” can become volatile and feel a wide range of intense and heightened emotions, potentially lasting several hours.  In these cases, conventional medical services may struggle to find an appropriate treatment and once in the care of medics and/or taken off the festival site, patrons might not be allowed to return to the event. If the police or security are involved, the situation may escalate and the individual may be arrested or sectioned. Being taken to hospital or handled by security or police whilst undergoing an intense and frightening psychedelic experience can be incredibly traumatic and increase the risk of long-term emotional and psychological harm. We work closely with medical personnel to address the needs of those in distress, while aiming to prevent sedation, hospitalisation or detention. Our work over the years has demonstrated that these individuals often only require the type of engaged, empathic care we provide, to move from a place of crisis to a calm, positive perspective.

“We believe that the principle of ‘set and setting’ is key for psychedelic support. This approach recognises the impact that the user’s mindset and their physical and social environment has on their drug experience. We provide a multidisciplinary approach, meaning that each volunteer will offer what they feel is appropriate for the individual they are supporting. This could be anything from massage or holding someone’s hand, to simply providing a listening ear and a calm presence. PsyCare UK works on the principles of peer education; being comprised largely of individuals who themselves enjoy festivals, we aim to be approachable and familiar, and to project a sense of calm, compassion and competence. We are akin to sitters rather than guides, but our understanding of the experiences our service users may undergo often makes all the difference to the outcome. “

by PsyCare

Click to find more information about PsyCare


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