Mad Pride: Making a Truce With the Voices in Your Head


In this piece for Vice, Tess McClure describes New Zealand’s Mad Pride movement, a movement that seeks to destigmatize, normalize, and celebrate experiences of voice-hearing and other mental health challenges.

“Ultimately, the conversation needs to change, Arana says. It’s time to move past just attempting to reduce stigma, and start actually embracing the experiences of people with different mental health conditions.

‘Let’s find out the value of this experience and let’s have this identity that includes this part of me, don’t keep it aside. It’s not an illness, it’s not something to be ashamed of,’ he says.”


  1. I know this is important to Emily, but I just don’t think this is the way to help people who are called ‘mad.’ I’m 100% for respect, full agency, respecting the full diversity of personalities and human traits/abilities, etc. But indiscriminately normalizing ALL things associated with ‘madness’ is folly.

    Healing is not easy. It’s messy. It shouldn’t be forced or dictated ‘from on high’. But making a simple ‘truce’ with one’s voices is not what is needed when there’s severe trauma and dysfunction in one’s background. Those angry, vitriolic, ‘mob’ voices can be engaged, validated, loved and with patience brought to peace, healing and great positive value in the person’s life. That is much better than just making a truce with them in my opinion.

    I guess I’ll add that similar to one of the people in this article, my wife had a voice that used to say vile things about me. It was so full of anger and hatred that neither my wife’s host nor the other girl who was with us at that time would tell me what was said by this new girl. I reached out to this new ‘voice’. When she finally fronted (came out fully), for months she made me cry every time we interacted. One time I slammed my head into the wall in absolute frustration (and kind of freaked out our son at the time, lol). but I refused to respond in kind. I kept offering love, acceptance and kindness until one day…she changed. I still remember it. And then the transformation that occurred was breathtaking. She went from being angry and vitriolic to beautiful and still full of passion for social justice causes, and loving a good debate… She was the first of the girls to ask for us to get engaged.

    That’s so much better than simply ‘making a truce.’ That girl, now young woman, is breath-takingly beautiful in an inner sense and has added such depth to my wife.

    Report comment