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Psychedelic crossings: American mental health and LSD in the 1970s
  1. Lucas Richert1,
  2. Erika Dyck2
  1. 1School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  2. 2Department of History, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lucas Richert, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA; lucas.richert{at}wisc.edu; Dr Erika Dyck, Department of History, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A2, Canada; Erika.Dyck{at}usask.ca

Abstract

This article places a spotlight on lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and American mental health in the 1970s, an era in which psychedelic science was far from settled and researchers continued to push the limits of regulation, resist change and attempt to revolutionise the mental health market-place. The following pages reveal some of the connections between mental health, LSD and the wider setting, avoiding both ascension and declension narratives. We offer a renewed approach to a substance, LSD, which bridged the gap between biomedical understandings of ‘health’ and ‘cure’ and the subjective needs of the individual. Garnering much attention, much like today, LSD created a cross-over point that brought together the humanities and arts, social sciences, health policy, medical education, patient experience and the public at large. It also divided opinion. This study draws on archival materials, medical literature and popular culture to understand the dynamics of psychedelic crossings as a means of engendering a fresh approach to cultural and countercultural-based healthcare during the 1970s.

  • psychiatry
  • psychology
  • LSD
  • mental health
  • culture

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors Both authors contributed to the conception and design of the article, collection of data, drafting of the article and critical revisions.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not requried.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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