TARA Mind began with a man and a question: “How can we help more people heal?”
On September 11, 2001 – one month before TARA Mind Co-Founder and CEO Marcus Capone was set to graduate from the Navy’s Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training – 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial flights before crashing them into US landmarks and killing nearly 3,000 people. A year later, Marcus would begin a 13-year odyssey as a Navy SEAL that earned him five decorations for valor on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan over six tours of combat duty. But when he returned to civilian life, Marcus found himself in a dark place, severely struggling with his mental health.
Battling post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and suicidal ideations, Marcus spent years undergoing traditional mental health treatments that included antidepressants, talk therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and visits to brain clinics. Nothing worked. Despite his efforts to get better, Marcus’s behavior became increasingly erratic, impulsive, and dangerous.
In a last-ditch effort, Marcus’ wife Amber suggested psychedelic-assisted therapy. Used by indigenous communities for millennia for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, psychedelics have been the subject of numerous studies in recent years which have shown them to be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, PTSD, anxiety, and TBI, among others.
It was a leap of faith for the straight-laced former Division 1 college quarterback whose only knowledge of psychedelics had been limited to stories of “Flower Children” and their recreational use of the substances. It wasn’t until he conducted his own research that he agreed to undergo treatment. And so, on Veterans Day in 2017, Marcus traveled to Mexico to undergo psychedelic treatment. While there, Marcus worked with a psychedelic therapist who helped him to set intentions and identify what he wanted to get out of his experience. Post treatment, he found himself basking in a profound feeling of relief. “I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. So much of the frustration and anger that had built up inside me for years simply fell away. While not for everybody, these drugs can be powerful tools for healing. I saw clearly the work I needed to do and I was motivated to do it. I believe psychedelic-assisted therapy saved my life.”
“So much of the frustration and anger that had built up inside me for years simply fell away.”
When Marcus returned home, he asked Amber: “How do we pay this forward? How can we help more people heal?”
The two got to work and in 2019 they created VETS® (Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions), a pioneering 501(c)(3) organization on a mission to end Veteran suicide. Since launching, VETS has helped thousands of veterans successfully begin their own healing journeys. The great success of VETS inspired Marcus to expand.
Founders of VETS
“I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish at VETS, but through our work I have come to realize that more people need help. There are people in the broader population who are also suffering and who could benefit from psychedelic-assisted therapy,” Marcus said.
That’s why TARA Mind was created: To enable safe and affordable access to psychedelic-assisted therapy through a vetted network of providers and in partnership with employers and payors so that people who are struggling with their mental health can get the help they need in a way that is financially feasible.
The TARA Mind platform is designed to meet individuals where they are on their mental health journeys. Our approach is rooted in research-backed science and focused on equipping people with the resources they need to make informed decisions about their wellness. For the providers in our network, the platform enables the delivery of measurement-based care to those who need it most.
“I know from experience that it is hard – extremely hard – to take the first step on the path toward healing, but it is the single most important thing that you can do for yourself and for your future,” Marcus said. “And that doesn’t mean just psychedelic-assisted therapy. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is not for everyone. I firmly believe, though, that for anyone, progress is possible. Healing is possible. But progress and healing can only occur by taking that first step and by making a commitment to keep moving forward, no matter what. You can look for shortcuts, but the only way is through.”
“The Only Way is Through”