Mental health in Colombia has been affected especially in children, adolescents and young adults, this scenario has greatly worsened the prognosis, the academic and economic development of the population, which incorporate personal, symbolic, cultural and relational factors. Different disorders begin between the ages of 9 and 23.
Statistics worldwide report that psychiatric and neurological conditions in the world will increase from 10.5% of the total burden of disease to 20% in the year 2022. These numbers equate to a larger proportional increase than for cardiovascular disease.
This is how it is shown that in Colombia unipolar depression will be the first general cause of consultation in the year 2022.
Due to this, the psychedelic experience is created, a therapy that helps to cure depression through mushrooms since they improve brain connections.
Mushrooms manage to connect regions of the brain that are more segregated in people with depression, finding a way to treat the condition differently than conventional drugs.
For this reason, Chef Burger was interested in investigating and delving through its products about the mental health of young people in Colombia. Iván Castaño Co-founder of the company tells us more about the great project that they have been developing.
Who is Iván Castaño?
I am a business administration graduate from EAFIT, a born entrepreneur, I have had different companies over the years, mainly in the entertainment sector and I am currently a founding partner of Chef Burger Company.
My role within the company is from strategy and expansion management, leading the area of culture, marketing, service and customer.
Where did your initiative to inform and raise awareness about the responsible consumption of psychedelic mushrooms come from?
Everything was born from the end of 2020 when the marketing area presented the strategic planning for 2021 and apart from the strategic tasks that it brings us, which this route already showed us, we perceived many insights, trends and needs of our consumer regarding care mental health; But what caught our attention the most was how every week mental health was negatively impacting young people after the pandemic.
This set off our alarm bells and so we began to dig deeper and better understand this topic, we finally found that mushroom therapy was achieving incredible results, several young people were giving positive testimonials from their first session and we felt that part of our corporate responsibility should be focused on this.
I had consumed mushrooms before and the subject caught my attention, so I wanted to start exploring. I was curious how mushrooms were being used worldwide to treat all diseases. So, with the brand area, we decided that this was the way to be the voice of young people and invite them to explore and investigate how they can treat these problems with alternative methods such as mushrooms.
This is how the campaign initiative was born, managing to create the Magic fungi burger.
What is the most relevant thing that you as a company have learned about the consumption of these mushrooms?
That it must be done responsibly, that it must be guided both for its preparation and for its dosage and clearly for the capture of results.
Personally, it’s a rewiring of the brain.
I have consumed mushrooms in a way of introspection, to understand myself, and make decisions for my company. What I want to teach you the most through my experience is to leave reflected in the company that the consumption of these is done responsibly. It is important to highlight that through this campaign we never wanted to encourage mass consumption, only exploration.
What benefits do they have for mental health?
Consuming mushrooms responsibly provides many benefits to the consumer. These cause a neural reconfiguration in the brain. It makes the brain more flexible and less harsh on its depression patterns. They allow people to know and close their problems at the root. And those experiences are associated with feelings of social connection and being in a positive mood.
The importance they place on listening to and talking to young people in a transparent way about this topic is evident. Therefore, given the circumstances, what do you think about the censorship of this campaign on social networks?
I believe that censorship in some way is good because it opens people’s eyes so that they can raise their voices and get public policies to change. Society must promote and demand a profound change such as the decriminalization of substances from nature because they have always coexisted during our evolution as humans.
Understanding the miniseries created by you ¨A trip on a mushroom flight¨, what stories did you find or marked you the most during the recording of this one?
Clearly the story of Diego and Carolina, the first is about a pelao very young who tried to commit suicide a few years ago, he had many problems with depression and anxiety, and he was treated by different psychologists and psychiatrists with traditional medicines and chemical drugs, but in the process he met someone who opened his mind and showed him that with Mushrooms could cure depression, he tried it and today he feels that he is cured and that he is a new person. And the second story is very moving, Carolina suffered the loss of her newborn son, this destroyed her, she fell into a very strong depression and was recommended a foundation that worked with mushrooms to understand life and death. She decided to enter the foundation and through the mushrooms and the therapies she performed, helped her understand the death of her son. And today Carolina explains that this experience was a blessing in her life, she left the foundation and managed to understand what had happened in her life.
This mental health and alternative mushroom therapy initiative is aimed at young people. Why do you focus on them?
This initiative is aimed at all our consumers, clearly at young people because we are their voice and since there are so many of us who are part of our community, we want them to study and learn about different therapies to heal and save a friend.
But also, we know that we have a very large adult audience and it is at our tables where we want them to have real conversations with their family, to find out about this type of therapy and open their minds.
At Chef we touch on relevant issues not for a specific public, but for society where, we are sure, we can talk about it with respect, tolerance and, above all, with an open mind free of prejudices.
How does this campaign promote Chef Burger culture?
This, like everything we do, is always aligned with our culture,
At Chef, one of our deepest-rooted beliefs is irreverence and thinking differently.
We believe that if so many people are suffering from mental health problems after the pandemic and after going to the doctor and being prescribed the same chemical drugs in the traditional way, nothing happens… if we see the high rates of death from depression on the news, the Leaders we must propose the investigation and exploration of different therapies, because by doing the same we are not winning the battle.
At Chef we promote thinking differently in all aspects of life.
Surely they will continue to innovate, what will be the next step for Chef Burger?
Chef, more than innovating, seeks to be the means to serve his community; If it is necessary to touch on thorny issues, we will do so for the common good.
Our community, for the most part, are young people and from this we want to continue being that channel of free expression. If we have to continue to touch on thorny issues, we will continue to do so.
A few years ago from the company we talked about cannabis and we openly released a hamburger with this element, at that time we said that it is a natural substance and that young people have the right to try and experiment since it has many benefits.
This time the opportunity was about psychedelic mushrooms and their different uses for mental health. And if we later observe that we must touch on more critical issues, we will do so, we consider that we are a means to raise that voice among young people.
Due to censorship, we were forced to create a new page on the networks called ¨Se habla de fungi¨, we will continue to feed that page with content, and then we are going to tell our followers what we are going to do with it.