Two-thirds of Americans with Mental Illness Support Use of Psychedelics, Survey Finds

Americans with anxiety, depression, and PTSD would be willing to try ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA if they worked better than traditional medications, a Harris Poll finds.

63% of US adults with mental health issues say traditional medications fall short.  ©Srdjan/

63% of US adults with mental health issues say traditional medications fall short. ©Srdjan/

Two-thirds of Americans with refractory mental health conditions believe that psychedelics should be made available as pharmacotherapy, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

Survey respondents who by self-report suffer from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) say that they support access to psychedelic medicines including ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms, and MDMA.

The survey was conducted online over 3 days in December 2021 by The Harris Poll on behalf of Delic Holdings Corp, a company that owns psychedelic wellness clinics. Of the 2037 US adults (aged ≥18 years) surveyed, 953 said they suffer from one of the 3 conditions above.

Of respondents who have used traditional prescription medications to treat their diagnosed mental illness, 63% say that these drugs have not entirely resolved their symptoms; 18% of all those polled reported that their medication did not improve their condition or made it worse.

“The pandemic has skyrocketed the need for psychedelic wellness,” Delic CEO Matt Stang told Forbes in an interview. “We're at a tipping point where the data and science regarding psychedelic therapies have become undeniable in treating a variety of serious conditions.”

Respondents said that if the alternative treatments were proven more effective than prescription medication to treat their anxiety, depression, or PTSD and had fewer side effects:

  • 66% would be open to pursuing ketamine
  • 62% would consider treatment with psilocybin prescribed by a physician
  • 56% would be willing to try MDMA

“This promising family of new medicines has the potential to be more effective than traditional medicines with minimal side effects, giving people their best selves back,” said Delic CEO Stang in a company statement. “Our country’s mental health crisis not only impacts public health, but also the economy–each year, untreated mental illness costs the U.S. up to $300 billion in lost productivity.”

Notes on psychedelic scheduling

Ketamine is legal in the US for medical use; it is an FDA-approved anesthetic used in regulated medical and surgical settings by licensed clinicians. There is also a substantial body of clinical research as evidence of the efficacy of ketamine to treat major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression.

Psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 drug in the US, although some states have moved to decriminalize mushrooms. California has a measure on the 2022 ballot that would decriminalize psychedelic medicine in the state.

Psilocybin’s efficacy for treatment-resistant depression was shown in a phase IIb clinical trial. COMP360 achieved its primary endpoint for the 25mg dose which demonstrated a highly statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction in depressive symptom severity after 3 weeks, with a rapid and durable treatment response.

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