For people struggling with severe mental health conditions, reliving traumatic experiences can create insurmountable barriers to wellness. Medicinal psychedelic treatments are increasingly moving into the mainstream of treatment options across North America, and Trent Nursing graduate, Monica Mina (‘08), has recently become the first nurse practitioner in Canada to work in the psychedelic psychotherapy industry.
“Clients need options to treat symptoms and get to the root causes of why they are struggling,” explains Monica, who is working as the chief care officer with Field Trip Canada. “We are combining psychedelic therapy [using ketamine, the only legal psychedelic that doesn’t require an exemption] with psychotherapy and using a window of neuroplasticity to reframe and reshape the experiences of clients with treatment-resistant mental health conditions. I get so much out of helping clients.”
"Treatment is customized to individual clients and their needs,” explains Monica. “It takes place over the span of three to five weeks […] after which we refer back to primary care providers.” She also notes that psychedelic psychotherapy is a powerful way to treat symptoms and get to the root causes of why people are struggling.
Becoming a corporate leader in healthcare
Since beginning with Field Trip Canada, she has found motivation in making a difference, including making treatment more accessible for those with financial barriers and incorporating ongoing patient supports such as trauma-focused yoga therapy and dietitian services.
“[At first,] I didn’t know what role nurses could play. But here my voice can really be heard, and I was able to advocate for the way that treatment can be done.” She also shares that many Nursing students would be surprised by where their careers can take them “You can move quickly. You can be a corporate leader. You can drive change,” says Monica.
Adapting for continuous career learning
Prior to joining Field Trip Canada, Monica was working in a COVID ward, and experienced the burnout prevalent across the healthcare sector. “I contemplated leaving the nursing field altogether,” she shares, before highlighting how her Trent experience cemented her commitment to lifelong learning, “As a student [one of my instructors] told us ‘I need to challenge you in this class, because one day you’re going to shape how the Nursing landscape looks.’ I have needed to have that attitude, desire and drive throughout my career.”
Since graduating, she has worked in a variety of roles in public health, and as a clinical nursing specialist on St. Michael’s Hospital’s trauma team, renowned for exceptional care of vulnerable populations. She also earned her Master of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner, from the University of Toronto.
She also points to the role she looks forward to playing to continue to advance psychedelic therapy in Canada.
“It’s really cool to feel like you are helping to pioneer a whole new branch of medicine. There is so much to be done through research, and to shape policies that center on evidence and care.”