Those advocates involved in the fight to end psychiatric abuse and generate a real space for alternatives in the area of mental health, often known as psychiatric survivors and consumers, only recently jumped fully aboard the disability rights political wagon. But they have been celebrating pride, mad pride, for a long time.
Recently, the New York Times, who has actually done a better than normal job in covering issues related to mental health abuse, ran a story about the politics of pride ‘Mad Pride’ Fights Stigma (though I honestly don’t understand why it is in fashion and style but hey… so long as it is covered). While celebrations have been going on for many years, one of the reasons for the new visibility has to do with a growing awareness of disability and the politics of stigma, along with the proliferation of blogs and video blogging, a trend that did not go unnoticed in the article.
Unsurprisingly, the mad pride movement must accommodate a variety of voices and viewpoints, a point also made by the Times:
Members of the mad pride movement do not always agree on their aims and intentions. For some, the objective is to continue the destigmatization of mental illness. A vocal, controversial wing rejects the need to treat mental afflictions with psychotropic drugs and seeks alternatives to the shifting, often inconsistent care offered by the medical establishment. Many members of the movement say they are publicly discussing their own struggles to help those with similar conditions and to inform the general public.
Accommodating different can be a “maddening” exercise but surely one of the reasons for the strength and current vibrancy of the movement. To learn more about some current projects affiliated with this fight to end stigma and psychiatric abuse check out Icarus as well as Mind Freedom. For some of the best reporting on pharma and mental health, check out Furious Seasons.