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Stigma Podcast - Mental Health

Jun 28, 2021

Today’s guest is Jon Kostakopoulos who was the first study participant in the NYU Psilocybin clinical trial. After years of struggling with alcoholism and after trying other options including in-patient programs, out-patient programs, AA, and pharmaceutical treatments, nothing was working for him. Finally, at age 25, Jon joined the clinical trial and underwent three different Psilocybin treatment sessions and has not craved alcohol since his first treatment session.

Jon has been interviewed on 60 minutes by Anderson Cooper regarding his Psilocybin treatments and since then has launched the Apollo Pact which is a non-profit funding medical research for mental health.

You can connect with Jon here:  Email, Apollo Pact Website

What If Fellowship:



  1. Jon shares about his struggles with alcoholism, early signs that showed his irregular relationship with alcohol, and how addiction impacted his life.

  2. We discuss the time put into his recovery and all the different options he attempted to get sober from ages 16-25.

  3. Jon shares how he learned of the clinical trial at NYU, the screening process, time leading up to the beginning of the trial and what the user experience was like for him.

  4. Jon goes into depth about the process of the clinical trial, what therapy was like before and after each Psilocybin experience, and what the aftermath was like during his year in the trial.

  5. We discuss the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating mental health issues and how it works by getting to the root of the problem with a wide variety of mental and behavioral health disorders.

  6. Jon shares about the work he is doing in the mental health space with Apollo Pact and how to get involved with this program.

  7. We talk about reasons why we think the government is not providing more support to these solutions when the efficacy is high, what needs to happen to finally get that support, and the unseen benefits for the government.

  8. We discuss the potential timeline for psilocybin to be more of a mainstream treatment with Oregon leading the way.


Connect with the Stigma Podcast in the following ways: What If Fellowship, Website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email

Connect with host Stephen Hays here: Stephen Hays Personal Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, What If Ventures (Mental Health Venture Fund)