Mad pride and prejudice

An article in today’s New York Times looks at the ‘mad pride’ movement and meets many of the people who aim to destigmatise mental illness by being upfront about their experience of altered states of mind.

The article features journalist Liz Spikol, who we interviewed back in 2006, and professor of law Elyn Saks, who we featured last year, among a host of others who are associated with what might loosely be termed as ‘mad pride’.

‘Loosely’ is certainly an apt description, because, apart from fighting stigma, views within the mad pride movement vary widely.

There are a few lingering Marxists who see all psychiatry as part of the capitalist system to oppress the working class, but most simply want better care for mental distress and society to be more accepting of differing states of mind.

Mad Pride is often rather clumsily related to ‘antipsychiatry’ but they are often at the forefront of campaigns when essential services are threatened.

In London, the campaign against the shutting of the Maudsley Hospital psychiatric emergency clinic was spearheaded by several ‘mad pride’ organisations – who had a mischievous and witty banner at one demo saying “We must be mad! We want the emergency clinic kept open!”.

I do share Phil Dawdy’s bemusement at being overlooked, as he’s surely one of the most thorough and effective of campaigning writers, but good to see the NYT continue its tradition of high quality mental health journalism.

Link to NYT article ‘Mad Pride Fights a Stigma’.

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