On this page, you can read more about a survey we conducted through a questionnaire,
on which we sought to learn more about the public’s opinion on psychedelics.
From the beginning of our project, we have wanted to reach out to the public to learn more about the general opinion on psychedelics. We believe that it is an essential part of our human practices, as the end goal of our product is to be used as medication in therapy sessions. For this reason, we chose to conduct a survey through a questionnaire that we distributed both in Denmark and abroad. It entails questions related to both depression and psychedelics. We have used SurveyXact to create the questionnaire, as this is our university’s chosen platform. This also works as a guarantee that our data collection is in abidance with the current GDPR rules. We first distributed the questionnaire in July, and we started looking at the data in the middle of September. During these two months, we gathered 734 replies on the danish version and just 43 on our international version. It has been challenging to gather responses on the international version, despite several efforts. We are, however, delighted with the 734 replies on the danish questionnaire. Initially, we strived for somewhere between 500-700 responses on the danish version, so 734 exceeded our expectations. The danish questionnaire has been shared throughout our social media, internally at our university, and through our private networks. As for now, we will strictly review the results from the danish questionnaire. Should we include the international version, we will make sure to describe it explicitly. The questionnaire is divided into parts, and the respondents could only access the parts in chronological order.
We initiated the questionnaire with background-questions, to gain insight into the respondents’ backgrounds. This included asking about age, location, education, and employment. It turns out that the average age for our respondents is 29, and more women than men have participated in our survey.
On this figure, you can see that 64% of our respondents identify as women, against 36% men and 1% other. Regarding location, the majority is in southern Denmark. This is because our university is in this region of Denmark, as well as our entire team. Therefore, our networks, which we used for distributing the questionnaire, are naturally from southern Denmark as well.
Most of our respondents are highly educated. A mere 7% have completed primary school, while the remaining have (as a minimum) completed their high school education.
Besides having a question concerning education, we also added one about current occupation. 61% answered that they are currently students, 32% that they´re working and the remaining 6% are without occupation and outside the labor market.
Psychedelics & Depression
With background information in place, the next part of our questionnaire revealed itself to the respondents. This part concerned psychedelics and depression. 85% knew about psychedelics prior to answering the survey, while 15% did not.
The next question concerned depression, and in this, we asked the respondents whether they have had depression or currently have one, as well as whether they knew anyone who suffered from depression. Over 80% answered that they do know someone who has suffered or suffers from depression and around 25% that they suffered from it themselves.
We also asked whether the respondents think that there are sufficient treatment options for depression today, and to this only 11% answered yes against 44% who said no. The remaining 45% answered that they weren’t sure. We added the option for the respondents to elaborate on their answers, which many chose to do. You can read more about this qualitative data in our discourse analysis, which you can find further down on this page.
Following these questions, are questions about the respondent’s stance on psychedelics in general, with the following results:
To nuance this question, and relate it to our project, we asked a question related to psychedelics as medical treatment. The answers change remarkably, from the general opinion. What this data shows us, is that our respondents have a positive outlook on psychedelics being used as treatment, while they are quite negative when it comes to psychedelics in general. This data is especially interesting for us, as this means that the public isn’t dismissive, and may even be positive, about using psychedelics medically.
After establishing how our respondents stand on psychedelics as a treatment option, we wanted to examine whether they had any concerns about it. 57% said that they did.
To the respondents who answered that they do have concerns, another part of the questionnaire opened. This part only revealed itself to the 57% who answered yes. Here we asked what kind of concerns they might have. We made a list of potential factors that might worry the public and added the option for them to write something themselves. You can see how the respondents answered here:
According to the answers listed above, we can see that many have a concern regarding the listed options. However, we need to address that we have chosen to make the list of options in advance, but the respondents could add their own concerns under the option of 'other'.
The most significant problem, according to the respondents, is addiction followed by substance abuse. 9% chose the option of adding a qualitative answer. Some mention that they potentially can see problems regarding psilocybin as with the discussion of the use of cannabis for treatment. Others note that they fear that the effect is temporary, even though we introduced the possibility of being therapeutic rather than symptom treatment shortly before.
Based on the qualitative answers to the survey, a brief discourse analysis has been made. This is done to map some of the most prominent discourses amongst our respondents.
The most prominent discourses that we wish to enhance is the following:
- Both yes and no to the use of psychedelics as a method of treatment
- The possible problems regarding the use of psychedelics as a treatment method weigh more than the possible positive results
- Depression is an actual problem that needs to be treated better than what is available today
- The taboo about depression need to be decreased and we need to get better at talking about it