Aurora, also called Northern Lights, is a natural light display in Earth’s sky, predominantly seen around the Arctic and Antarctic.
The phenomenon has been fascinating humans for millennia. Like spirits dancing in the starry nights of Scandinavia, their tireless waltz floating in the sky, shimmering in one’s eyes and heart.
Nowadays, people come from all around the world, braving the raging elements and the most dire temperatures, in order to witness, even for a couple minutes, one of nature’s most mesmerising gift.
Throughout history, local populations have been attributing different meanings to these lights. In Sweden, for example, many saw auroras as a portent of good news. They believed the lights to be a gift from benevolent gods providing warmth and light.
It’s in this spirit that Norrsken was created. Stemming from a belief in entrepreneurship and new technology as forces that can positively impact the world, the foundation is now launching Norrsken Mind: Psychedelic Science Initiative. The foundation is supporting research on psychedelic substances and their potential to treat mental health disorders.
Like Northern Lights illuminating a Swedish night, Norrsken has for mission to bring light to those lost in darkness.
A foundation working for mankind
Norrsken is an impact ecosystem where entrepreneurs can find everything they need to make saving the world their business.
The foundation five funds have raised approximatively £400.9M to back exceptional entrepreneurs who combine profit with positive global impact: Norrsken VC, Norrsken22, Norrsken Accelerator, Norrsken Launcher and Norrsken Africa Seed Fund.
Norrsken is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-religious foundation. It was founded by Niklas Adalberth, co-founder of payment services unicorn Klarna.
Following its goal to help people all around the world, Norrsken launches Norrsken Mind: Psychedelic Science Initiative, a foundation focused on supporting research on psychedelic substances and their potential to treat mental health disorders. For its launch, Norrsken Mind has raised £2.4M, with an ambition to raise more in the coming years.
Solving a devastating issue
Norssken Mind has been created in order to answer an unmet need. According to data from WHO, 13% of the world’s population was living with mental disorders in 2019, corresponding to approximately 970 million people, and the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a 28% and 26% increase respectively in major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders. Even though depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, studies estimate that as many as 30% of patients are not being effectively treated by mainstream antidepressants.
This is not just a societal burden, but an economic one. It is estimated, for example, that between 2010 and 2030, the cost for the global economy could amount to around £12.8T.
It is for this reason that research into complementary and new treatments is vital. Psychedelic substances are currently considered to have significant potential in this area, with recent research producing promising results that have helped destigmatise such drugs among public agencies and authorities.
What can Norrsken Mind bring to the table
Norrsken Mind aims to accelerate the speed of this scientific endeavour and enable Sweden to catch up with the rest of the world regarding psychedelic research and treatment competence. As it stands, Sweden risks being left behind as other countries start to implement these treatments after potential approvals.
Norrsken Mind is today announcing two grants, amounting to approximately £505.7K, to two studies at Karolinska Institutet, and Umeå University, respectively. With an initial focus on funding research in Sweden, Norrsken Mind intends to broaden its scope to cover research across Europe in the near-term.
Furthermore, there are also plans to engage directly with healthcare professionals and mental health stakeholders to provide information and education on psychedelic research and best practice, as well as to support engagement with regulatory bodies to create better conditions for conducting research in Europe.
“There is an ever-growing awareness of the importance of investing in mental health. While there are several important mental health treatments today, they are in many cases insufficient, and we need to explore new ways forward.” says Emma Christersson, Managing Director of Norrsken Mind.