The US Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nomination for a new leader of
a key federal mental health agency. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, an African-
American psychologist and former director of Connecticut’s mental health
services, immediately became the new Assistant Secretary at the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Hopefully, one of the first actions Dr. Delphin-Rittmon takes at SAMHSA will be ending the stonewalling about support for involuntary mental health care, which can often mean court-ordering US citizens to take powerful, controversial psychiatric drugs in their own homes, out in the community.
SAMHSA has betrayed the principles of the mental health consumer movement for transparency and empowerment. Whatever happened to “Nothing about us without us”? Will Dr. Delphin-Rittmon begin to repair the damage?
Background: Trends Toward Community Coercion
Most US States now have laws allowing court-ordered involuntary mental health treatment of individuals living out in the community, even in their own homes. Since 2016, SAMHSA, the large US mental health agency, has quietly supported this rise of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) through two major grants impacting hundreds of American citizens, and this endorsement can carry a lot of weight throughout the nation.
More than one year ago, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any information about these two SAMHSA grants. Despite promises to reply, the agency never did. In April 2021, a major disability advocacy nonprofit filed an FOIA to get information from that agency. SAMHSA, illegally, has not provided any information.
SAMHSA, which requested an annual budget of more than $5 billion, funded these two major grants, one in 2016 and another in 2020, for 32 projects for IOC. We have created a spreadsheet to show the awardees of both of these grants, for a total of more than $25 million in various states across the country.
For over a year, I frequently requested any information from SAMHSA evaluating these projects, and I even filed a FOIA, but I have never ever received any information at all. This is despite several responses to my emails with promises to send the information soon. I have documented these interactions that I had with SAMHSA staff.
After my futile attempts, the major disability advocacy nonprofit, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), filed their own official FOIA to SAMHSA on 13 April 2021. SAMHSA was required by law to reply in a timely way, but has broken the law and to date has not provided NCIL with any information about either grant. NCIL’s Subcommittee on Mental Health has decided to monitor this situation, reach out to allied groups, and contact members of Congress who will make inquiries.
Along with the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), SAMHSA is one of the biggest federal agencies in behavioral health, and of course where a lot of the mental health consumer movement gets its money. SAMHSA is a part of the larger US agency, Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS is now led by Secretary Xavier Becerra, who is in Biden’s cabinet.
Actions You Can Take To Stop SAMHSA’s Stonewalling
- Please email to President Joe Biden about SAMHSA’s refusal to provide basic information about the above. You can email him here.
- You may email the new director of SAMHSA, Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, here: [email protected]
- For ongoing updates, please get on the alert list for my blog: com/david-w-oaks-news
Happy MAD Pride Month of July!
I coordinate the regional Affiliate for MindFreedom International, MindFreedom Oregon. We are calling for every July to be MAD Pride Month!
For example, the Alternatives 2021 Conference will be totally free, online, with dozens of presenters with lived experience of mental health issues: https://www.alternatives-conference.org/
I will give a workshop about Green Disability on 15 July, which is the birthday of one of my psychiatric survivor heroes, the late Leonard Roy Frank, an activist, friend, and author.
In 1985, SAMHSA funded the first Alternatives Conference, and continued to bring together thousands of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors each year for decades. But a few years ago, SAMHSA stopped funding the event, claiming lack of funds. However, as we’ve seen, somehow SAMHSA found more than $25 million to support involuntary outpatient mental health for hundreds of US citizens.
We have a list of MAD Pride Month events and resources here. If you have anything to add, let us know! [email protected]
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
I think the answer is to stop identifying as “mad” and to stop begging our captors for money.
I am not “mad” and I don’t believe that other people who have “psychiatric” labeled emotional and altered mental states after trauma or illness are “mad”. These are normal responses. These responses are no different than what happens to non-“mad” people when they are severely sleep deprived, have drug-induced reactions (such as happens with normal controls in drug studies), or have responses to severe social stress. I think it is counter productive, and gives them ammunition to other us when we identify as having those struggles beingan internal part of us. It flies in the face of those fighting against various traumas and oppressions to frame these extreme states as innate or something to have “pride” in.
And how can anyone fault SAMHSA for not cooperating with the requests of “mad” people? When we agree we are “mad”, we walk into the biomedical trap being set that allows them to internalize and individualize our struggles. Let’s go back to what Britney Spears said in her testimony. She’s done with evaluations, with human rights abuses, with control. She’s competent, as are the vast majority of people having normal reactions to abnormal conditions.
Thanks but I’ve worked for 45 years for human rights in mental health, so someone can call themselves the Easter Bunny if they wish. But somehow my calling myself (not you, me) MAD bugs you?
Just please no one call me that obscenity “normal.”
Of course, someone can call themselves the Easter bunny if they wish. But that’s really a different point from advocating for not being othered by a society with very rigid rules about what is considered normal.
You see normal as a dirty word and that’s fine but I see normal as a word that needs redefining. And I see no point in arguing over it. I’m several decades younger than you and I’m fine with the fact that we have different visions. The mad movement hasn’t been terribly successful beyond the closing of institutions. So maybe give us younger whippersnappers a chance at facilitating a different kind of change.
Kindredspirit, I really like this.
PS I guarantee that institutions were not closed by “mad pride” but by social engineers, politicians and lots of accountants and lawyers. Once they decided to make this move the inmates of the institutions had no say in the matter one way or the other.
Also it’s more a matter of consciousness and analysis than age.
as a mother who has often wished my daughter would pass for ‘normal’ (she often walks down the street talking to invisible friends) I am beginning to think that there is greater value in reclaiming labels than you are crediting. As I deal with past trauma–i go through various evolutionary milestones–I am still frightened of psychiatrists unchecked power, but I am lightening up a bit.
One thing that gives me comfort is people who claim to be ‘mad’ are no longer running from the labels makers and the enforcers of normality, something I often do.
They are stopping dead in their tracks, turning, looking at their former abusers squarely in the eye and holding up a mirror, saying “your labels including ‘mad’ don’t scare me anymore.”
That kind of comfort level with my human identity is something I aspire to. To be mad is to be human!
Go mad pride! Go humanity! Thank you David Oaks!!
My position is that a very wide range of behavior is normal, not the very narrow culturally approved range. I talk to myself all the time. I answer myself too. It helps me to vocalize my thoughts. I get to the answer more quickly. But that behavior has also been disturbing to others who don’t understand it. Why should it matter if the conversation is one-sided or if we have imaginary friends?
There’s a thing about culture and that what is considered normal varies widely and its location based. Someone from the Deep South may be very different from someone from NYC who will be different from someone from the upper Midwest who is different from someone from coastal California. And yet all of these differences are normal human variation. I travel extensively and I like to remind people that the United States is not one culture. It is a series of overlapping cultures that change by location but also by race and ethnicity, income and education, political and religious leanings, etc.
The enforcers of normality as you put it are really enforcing a very rigid narrow definition of normal that is extremely unhealthy. How is “mad” any different from “bipolar” or “psychotic” or “psycho” or “nuts”? These labels are all the same. I do not run from them. I reject them all. They are all stigmatizing normal variation in human behavior. I reject them for the same reason I reject the concept of neurodiversity. It’s not that doesn’t isn’t real. It’s that again we put some people in the category of normal and some people in the category of neurodiverse and some people in the category of mad or crazy, etc.
I posit that the “normal” range of human behavior and expression is far greater than what local cultures consider “acceptable” in that culture. So then we start to see that this isn’t about anyone actually being normal or mad or neurodiverse but people being pidgeonholed into a narrow range of acceptable presentation for other reasons.
What we really need to grapple with then is the deeper question: “who is this serving?”
To be mad is to be human!
Which sort of demonstrates the point — if “madness” is a characteristic of all humans, there’s nothing special about being “mad.” So what’s the point of a “movement”?
Rachel777 has posited that “madness” describes a state of mind, like sadness or confusion — it doesn’t define a person’s essence. How about a “sad pride” movement, wouldn’t that be just as logical?
I can get behind that – “Sad Pride!”
I think…honestly, my -own personal- approach has been to do my best to build a life as a human being who happens to be burdened by a serious psych label. ever read Stigma, by Goffman? brilliant stuff, really. in all likelihood, my labels and lies, etc. will outlive me. I choose not to engage the “mad” vs “severely mentally ill,” etc. so much as…
do what I can, with the resources I have at my disposal, despite the labels. Each individual is different, to some extent. In my own situation — and I also think my outlook as a fairly traditional (but not “conservative”) Christian plays a strong role in this — I choose to see the psych labels/lies as more lies from a fallen world that is filled with lying liars, anyway.
on a day to day basis, I guess I can say…I see the social and legal fiction of “mental illness” at play around me, every day. And yet…
In large part because of my faith, I do believe in absolute truth. To that end, I do not and cannot “believe” in psychiatry anymore than I can believe in any other false religion. 🙂
Done. I mean, I emailed the President and the new SAMSA head. Thank you so much to David Oaks for the work he is doing. We need more concrete actions like these. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and to send these emails – and thank you, David, for making this so convenient, with the links right in the text!
Cheers to Kindred Spirit (whether she needs them or not) for her continuing deconstruction of the notion of “Mad Pride.”
The only thing I would add is that the slogan of the original mental patients liberation liberation movement was NOT “Mad Pride” but “Abolish Psychiatry.” This is documented in the Principles of the 1982 Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, which can be found in the archives of Mindfreedom.
To imply that the vast majority of anti-psychiatry “mental patients” have historically regarded themselves as “mad” is a distortion of history, pure and simple. The term is a euphemism for “mentally ill,” with flowery “woke” trappings. This is demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of those who consider themselves “mad” never saw themselves as such until they had been diagnosed as “mentally ill,” then defined themselves as “mad” as a substitute label — but a label generated by psychiatry nonetheless.
Thanks for bringing up the 1982 Toronto “International Conference for Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression.”
By that time, I had already been in involved in our movement for about six years.
As the name of our conference says, we focused on opposing involuntary, forced and tyrannical mental health.
We organized in Toronto partly because the American Psychiatric Association was also meeting there, and we held a counter-conference.
We also marched over to the APA to protest. I am proud that I am one of the organizers of perhaps the most protests of the APA by psychiatric survivors.
When we arrived, I happily remembered that one of our members did a handstand in front of one of the doors to the conference. Another began doing a Tarot reading, by laying out a bunch of cards on the sidewalk. She happily announced to everyone in the crowd, “Justice is in the outcome position!”
Yes, we focused on opposing oppression, tyranny, force.
However, we also embraced life, enjoyed freedom, and liberty. We were far too busy to wave our fingers and scold folks for acting odd or being different. In fact, the whole idea is to be ourselves and experience freedom.
By the way, you mentioned MindFreedom, and I helped co-found MindFreedom. I ran MFI as Executive Director for more than 25 years. The Executive Director who took my placer is a wonderful friend, Ron Bassman, who personally experienced involuntary shock as a young person.
Please note that MindFreedom is spelled with a capital M and capital F. You spelled it with the lower-case F. In a way that is symbolic, because Freedom is key to our movement.
Whole purpose of my blog was to challenge a major federal agency about their support for involuntary outpatient commitment. Rather than discuss that topic, there has mainly been a discussion here about the “proper” use of certain words. Let us get back to the topic at hand. A few of us are actually working on re-starting the International Conference, partly because we can now more easily do that using Facebook, Zoom, etc.
If anyone will go to my “follow-up” blog about updates regarding the above, they will find a link to resources about MAD Pride. Folks will see that I am presenting on the birthday of my friend, the late Leonard Roy Frank. Leonard very much supported FREEDOM:
The page about MAD Pride resources is here:
One really fun and amazing aspect of embracing MAD Pride, is that folks who describe themselves as “normal” are often upset. Wow, must be so amazing to be “normal.” “Normal folks” seem to enjoy telling other people how to think, behave, what we can call ourselves, how we can act, what is correct, wow. So effing normal!
My friend, the late John McArthy, poet from Ireland, frequently talked about the interesting feature of reality that there is a “Madness of normality and normality of madness.”
Each of us as individuals can describe ourselves. But overall, I am actually calling ALL of humanity, 100%, by any accepted definition or non-accepted definition, MAD. To be human is to have strong feelings, passion, difference. Part of what is going on with the “medical model” is trying to medicalize simply being human.
I appreciate that by my describing myself as MAD, I am apparently causing paraxisms of upset among some folks who think of themselves as “normal.”
Yesterday, our MindFreedom Oregon group (capital F) had a special Zoom about MAD Pride. We may be small, but as our Principles say, what matters is embracing the truth of freedom.
The link for our principles that helped write many decades ago is here:
Please especially note these principles that talk about freedom & liberty:
19. We believe that people should have the right to live in any manner or lifestyle they choose.
24. We believe that so long as one individual’s freedom is unjustly restricted no one is truly free.
28. We demand an end to involuntary psychiatric intervention.
29. We demand individual liberty and social justice for everyone.
30. We intend to make these words real and will not rest until we do.
Actually David, it isn’t hard at all to see why the “mad” pride movement has been so spectacularly unsuccessful.
All I really want to have is a conversation about why I don’t feel that identifying as “mad” is a constructive path toward freedom in a world that has such narrow and rigid conceptions about normality. So how about we change the wording here since your apparent difficulty in seeing the necessary nuance is getting in the way of each of us being heard. Let’s talk about acceptable presentation instead.
We live in society. Each society, each culture of you will, have cultural norms regarding behaviors and presentations that the local culture deems to be acceptable. These are fluid and changing with the times. Our culture embraces presentations now that would have been heavily pathologized just a few decades ago when I was a child. This is excellent progress and yet still hasn’t had much of an effect when it comes to the human and civil rights of those labeled with “mental illness”.
My goal is to expand this range of acceptable presentation in behavior and emotion so that those of us who have been harmed or for whatever reason experience “big emotions” are allowed to be ourselves in freedom. It seems like our goals are not that far off. And yet, because I question the usefulness of identifying as “mad”, you respond in an adversarial manner. You seem to skirt the edges of the community guidelines in order to state that those of us who want to expand what is considered normal are having “paroxysms” without directly stating it about myself or Oldhead. This is rather disingenuous as we can all read between the lines here.
“One really fun and amazing aspect of embracing MAD Pride, is that folks who describe themselves as “normal” are often upset. Wow, must be so amazing to be “normal.” “Normal folks” seem to enjoy telling other people how to think, behave, what we can call ourselves, how we can act, what is correct, wow. So effing normal!
Each of us as individuals can describe ourselves. But overall, I am actually calling ALL of humanity, 100%, by any accepted definition or non-accepted definition, MAD. To be human is to have strong feelings, passion, difference. Part of what is going on with the “medical model” is trying to medicalize simply being human.“
It’s interesting to me that when I push back and state that I am not mad, you say that we can each define ourselves as we wish. Fair enough. We agree here. Then you state that we are ALL mad. Am I still not allowed to push back against such a statement? When you are clearly now not just labeling yourself but labeling me as well?
I am not MAD. I have been harmed. I have had expected responses to harm. I have had those expected responses to harm pathologized. It is not in my interest to extend that pathology by self labeling as “mad”. See, I did not use the word “normal” once and yet I clearly stated the same point I have been making. Please address that without having a “paroxysm” over the word “normal”. And please do it without exerting your authority. I don’t recognize your authority. You don’t speak for me any more than Oldhead does.
I am a human that deserves human rights. That’s what psychiatrists and SAMHSA needs to hear. There is no need to have pride in the obvious and expected presentations of the harm I have experienced.
We are not adversaries and there is no need for defensiveness. But I can’t support an effort that isn’t inclusive of the diversity of experiences of psychiatric survivors. Most of us don’t identify ourselves as “mad”. Many of us identify as regular people who have been targeted for our deviation from harmful cultural norms simply because our emotional expressions have been too big for others to bear. I am not “mad”. I’d sooner call those who harmed me “mad” than I would identify as such.
Thanks for continuing the dialogue, especially bringing up a problem beyond semantics: SAMHSA
Two quick brief questions:
1. By your definition of “normal” which I understand is expanded, is there anyone doing anything ever that is NOT normal?
Unfortunately, since scientists have warned about the climate crisis, for instance, the last few decades it has been “normal” to actually increase global greenhouse gas emissions.
So is anything NOT normal?
2. Can you please tell us all about any currently-existing group that is in your view working well for human rights in mental health?
Posting comments on websites does not count.
Look David, I agree with you that “normal” is a loaded word. I use it as a counter to what psychiatry (which has a hold on the culture) considers “abnormal”. “Abnormal” psychology dominates and controls the range of acceptable expression, the range of acceptable lifestyles, and the range of acceptable responses to harm.
I grew up with the contradictory influences of evangelicalism juxtaposed with my mother coming out as lesbian at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1987 and immersion in east coast sci-fi/fantasy fandom. I’ve been letting my freak flag fly since I was a child with those influences. I very much understand the rejection of ridiculous cultural norms. This is my lane.
So what isn’t normal? What shouldn’t be allowed? That which actually harms others. That’s it, in my book. And we already have a plethora of laws that address that. And a justice system (broken as it is) that deals with that. Which brings me to the basic premise that psychiatry is a tool of social control and is part and parcel of the justice system. You can’t make weirdness illegal but you can pathologize it and restrict people’s rights extra-judiciously (and sometimes totally legally, Britney Spears style.)
Normal could be defined as something that is common. Mental distress after trauma is very common and expected. It is normal under that definition. This is why I applaud trauma informed approaches. Hearing voices is *very* common. Struggling to survive and support oneself under capitalism is normal.
What psychiatry traditionally did was pathologize nonconformity in the same way that a lot of laws targeted nonconformity. It has largely moved on from that to medicalize distress.
Your mention of increasing greenhouse gas emissions as normal is somewhat out of context but I’ll bite. The climate crisis is not driven by individuals but by large polluting multinational corporations. This is not normal by any definition. It’s driven by greed and power by those that can. There has been a lot of appropriate pushback against the idea that individual efforts at reducing energy use has much effect at all. And now we are aware that stopping the production and use of fossil fuels reduces necessary global dimming. This is a topic for our governments. Let’s write to our Congress people and see how far we get.
But there are certainly things that are common, and thus normal, that are harmful to others. Driving an average of 11 mph over the speed limit for one, which increases accidents and road deaths. It’s normal, judging by research of DC beltway traffic, but it causes harm. To address this harm in a sensical way, you work backwards to find the conditions effecting this behavior and change those.
So that’s the basic metric. Does it cause harm? Then, if it causes harm (such as long prison sentences in punitive conditions causes harm) what can be done to minimize or eliminate it? A lot of people who end up getting tickets they can’t pay and losing their licenses, or causing unintentional accidents through speeding are doing so because they will be late to work otherwise, because they’re poor and their schedules aren’t as flexible as the privileged. I don’t ever have to speed. I’ve never had an auto accident and I have great insurance rates. But it reflects much more than a willingness to follow the posted speed limit. There is so much nuance to what drives normal and abnormal behavior then.
So back to SAMHSA:
In my experience, two things work to get government agencies to comply with the law. Actual public pressure, which means changing attitudes and getting into the mainstream press. And the other is suing. That takes money. Count me in to donate to the effort.
Your last statement seems to be a dig at my comments here as if I am obliged to justify what I have done lately in order to be allowed a voice here. The answer is none of your or anyone else’s business. Because that’s a straw man argument to deflect from the topic at hand. And you aren’t the final arbiter of what counts, either, though there has been a long-standing culture on the internet of suggesting that people who disagree in online spaces aren’t doing anything. The truth is I have personally learned a ridiculous amount through discussion here at MIA over five years. As have others. I assume we take these things back to our families, communities and our efforts to defeat psychiatry. None of which I need to boast about in order to justify participating in the conversation online.
The only thing I am seeking here is to have a voice in a movement that at times doesn’t seem to include me at all.
One last thing. Those who, like me, also have physical illnesses that cause psychiatrically labeled distress aren’t mad either. Lyme Disease is not a symptom of madness. People with it want to be cured of an agonizing systemic infection that often effects our emotions and behavior. That’s it. I want to be cured. And we deserve a voice in the big tent of those who have experienced psychiatric harm. And this is my main point. Psychiatric survivors are extremely diverse. We come from all backgrounds and all paths into psychiatry. So have all the mad pride you want. I am artist and I appreciate the desire to depathologize strangeness. But understand that it isn’t an inclusive or unifying concept to a large portion of the psychiatrized. We can and should fight for our rights using much broader much more inclusive language. That just might be what takes antipsychiatry mainstream.
David, I also think that a blog about AOT and SAMHSA’s stonewalling would stand better on its own. The US is perfectly poised right now for a discussion about the harms of coercive “care” in the mental and judicial systems. Had this blog been a full blown attack on those topics riding the coattails of Britney Spears explosive testimony, it would have been much more effective in generating discussion about that.
But instead it segued into mad pride, which many of us don’t resonate with, and the loss of SAMHSA funds for the Alternatives Conference. And again, this is a distraction. For one, we don’t need “alternatives” to oppression, though some of what gets billed as alternatives to psychiatry would be great programs to implement and stand on their own.
Second, I am no bootlicker. In what reality do you beg your oppressors for money and then cry when they take it away? SAMHSA is an oppressive governmental entity that continually grows in its power to regulate behavior, which is the entire purpose of its existence.
Count me in as someone who wants to talk about and help develop more effective strategies for gaining liberation. I see independence from SAMHSA as nothing but positive.
Can you please tell us all about any currently-existing group that is in your view working well for human rights in mental health?
Posting comments on websites does not count.
I’m interloping here because I can’t help pointing out that the problem is with the question — specifically the idea that there can ever be such as a thing as “human rights in mental health.” “Mental health rights” is an oxymoron, and an inherent contradiction. The correct question would be more like “what groups are working to expose and defeat the psychiatric system?”
Small correction: Because of my disabilities, I do not type myself. The late poet friend who championed MAD Pride was actually named John McCarthy. He would appreciate creative spelling! He certainly would not have a paroxysm over creative spelling!
Whole purpose of my blog was to challenge a major federal agency about their support for involuntary outpatient commitment. Rather than discuss that topic, there has mainly been a discussion here about the “proper” use of certain words. Let us get back to the topic at hand.
The absurd strategy of seeking justice by appealing to and/or complaining about totally illegitimate agencies such as SAMSHA and the mentality that “identifies” as being “mad” — are part & parcel of one another.
“Mad” is the liberal psychiatric counterpart of “Negro.”
By citing preliminary sections of the 1982 Principles (which are very similar to the 1976 principles btw) you seem to be attempting to deflect from their crowning pronouncement regarding psychiatry:
26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.
Any attempt to “reinstitute” the International Conference which does not put the abolition of psychiatry at the forefront would be as illegitimate as the so-called “ALTERNATIVES” conferences. And it would be unrepresentative without the participation of the anti-psychiatry survivors’ movement. It would be in name only (a favorite tactic lately).
“This is demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of those who consider themselves “mad” never saw themselves as such until they had been diagnosed as “mentally ill,” then defined themselves as “mad” as a substitute label — but a label generated by psychiatry nonetheless.”
The romanticizing of experiences that many find distressing in the extreme seems extraordinarily out of touch to me. If we are to reach the majority celebrating mental health awareness, we need to recognize that most people simply want relief from their distress.
This isn’t Alice in Wonderland. It’s an increasingly desperate and suicidal population that doesn’t want to live. Psychiatry is mad! It boasts of how its iatrogenic effects are proof of latent illness! That’s the only madness I see!
David, Thank you and your helper for getting this conversation back on track, since your point wasn’t about the issue of language and ‘mad pride’ v.s. ‘normality’, whatever that is. The important issues you raised, getting data from the President and the new SAMSA head is critical. I will try and follow Yulia’s lead by writing to both. That sounds much more productive than arguing about language. I appreciate the reminder that you have been around the horn a little and are well qualified by experience as a leader to bring priority issues to the attention of others and make suggestions as to what is important. In the case of the SAMSA grant, I would like to know as the mother of a psych survivor and a tax payer, what are the outcomes of our nation’s lastest investment in a carceral mental health system, more people living independently and peaceably in their communities, socially connected, hopeful and purposeful, or more people holed up in substandard housing situations or institutions, afraid, hopeless, looking over their shoulder, dreading the possibility of more state sanctioned torture
I find the several claims that the article wasn’t about “mad” pride to be disingenuous in the extreme. The entire second half of the article was about an effort to make July “mad pride month” and “Happy Mad Pride Month of July” was in bold preceding that.
I do not find this policing of what people are allowed to agree with or object to in any way helpful especially when such a huge emphasis was placed on this subject by the author himself! It’s comical and highly illogical to suggest that comments should only focus on the first half regarding SAMHSA!
People don’t turn to psychiatry for help because there is something to be proud of in their struggles. Most people who deliberately “get help” do so because they’re miserable! The portion of survivors who identify as having had a misunderstood spiritual experience is SMALL compared to those of us who were desperately trying to survive extreme depression, panic attacks, dissociation, perhaps physical illnesses, intense anger, nightmares, etc. Who in their right mind would interpret those experiences as something to be proud of?
Do I not get a voice here?
The portion of survivors who identify as having had a misunderstood spiritual experience is SMALL compared to those of us who were desperately trying to survive extreme depression, panic attacks, dissociation, perhaps physical illnesses, intense anger, nightmares, etc.
Agreed again, for what it’s worth. (Not to imply that those who have had what they consider spiritual experiences invalidated as “pathological” have not also been violated.)
And yes, it is disingenuous to insert an ideological narrative — here in support of the concept of “mad” pride and “mad” culture — into an unrelated discussion of SAMHSA, then disregard the response as irrelevant.
I don’t want to be divisive, so if there is a Mad Pride movement, count me in. I suppose I could say the same thing about some folk’s anti-Mad Pride movement if asked. Camouflage, after all, is sometimes a necessity.
Um, the government is spending a lot of money on forced “mental health” torture, is it? Just think of what sort of a world we might have if they stopped spending so much on that sort of thing. Being tight lipped and secretive about the matter isn’t a spend thrift tactic in this case. I’d say that there are a lot of people that could be helped if we were to pressure the government to make a few changes.
Thanks for making the case, David. I hope people are paying attention.
My main point is we don’t have to stand up for the right to be mad, whatever that even means, in order to oppose human rights abuses and restrictions of civil liberties. Although these two things have often been linked, it’s a terrible strategy as we can see from the slow and steady march toward less freedom for those whom society successfully “others” with such labeling.
Says it all.
Recognizing and pointing out divisions that exist is not being divisive, nor is attempting to discuss them. Not that MIA should be the primary forum in which survivors do their strategizing, for obvious reasons.
In fact, stopping people from pointing out such divisions is divisive in itself.
Moving beyond the issue of so-called “madness” to other attitudes and positions which are strategically and practically counterproductive (for those whose goal is to defeat psychiatry and not “reform” it):
SAMHSA is one of the biggest federal agencies in behavioral health, and of course where a lot of the mental health consumer movement gets its money.
Got that folks? Anti-psychiatry activists please take note, as it is a clear indictment of the so-called “mental health consumers movement” (which was always and remains a ruse designed to undermine the anti-psychiatry movement). It also demonstrates the true purposes and motives of neoliberal agencies such as SAMHSA, which are similar on a domestic level to such imperialist groupings as the Agency for International Development (AID). Why on earth would survivors who truly want to eliminate psychiatry have anything to do with SAMHSA at all?
Since 2016, SAMHSA, the large US mental health agency, has quietly supported this rise of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) through two major grants impacting hundreds of American citizens, and this endorsement can carry a lot of weight throughout the nation.
Demonstrating again that SAMHSA is our ENEMY…
In 1985, SAMHSA funded the first Alternatives Conference, and continued to bring together thousands of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors each year for decades.
Confirming what every serious AP activist and historian already knows — that the so-called “Alternatives” conferences were instituted by the psychiatric establishment, as an “alternative” to the Mental Patients Liberation Movement, and have always been a treacherous betrayal of what the movement stood for. I am stunned that David would use his prominent status to endorse its continuation in any form. As for SAMHSA, what the devil gives he takes away — why should we bargain with it in any form or take its money?
A growing number of survivors who oppose psychiatry completely have been quietly organizing for over four years to resurrect the Mental Patients Liberation/Anti-Psychiatry movement and return to the true goals of the movement. There are currently close to 20 active members united around some basic anti-psychiatry principles. While there has been some resistance to announcing ourselves publicly I hope this will be resolved soon. Meanwhile if you are a survivor who wants to abolish psychiatry give us a shout at [email protected]
It is and always will be a losing proposition to waste our energy “convincing” totalitarian government agencies and their bureaucrats to do anything simply because it would be in the peoples interest. The grip of the psychiatric system will be ended only by exposing it and rejecting it completely, and educating others to do the the same. Only then will there be sufficient pressure for such agencies to act in a non-oppressive manner (which will of course only be a tactic on their part). The idea that such people can be “talked into” ending something as basic as involuntary “treatment” is absurd, and ignores some basic realities about what psychiatry is in the first place.
The sole purpose of psychiatry in any society is control and regimentation, whether on a physical level of incarceration, drugging and other restraints, or a psychological one, by convincing dissatisfied citizens that their dissatisfaction is the result of individual “pathology,” rather than an understandable reaction to a dehumanizing society. The obvious benefit of this to the prevailing order is to keep its subjects blaming themselves for their unhappiness, rather than engaging in political resistance to the conditions which engender it.
Why on earth would the government ever support ending forced psychiatry? In the end coercive force is the only thing propping up the psychiatric system — if there were a true choice involved psychiatry would wither away within 25 years on its own merits, or lack of such.
Paraphrasing Frederick Douglas, power cedes nothing without a demand. If our demand is confined to begging mh bureaucrats for favors and cash the results will be predictable. This also applies to hunger strikes and other traditional guilt-based white liberal actions which miss the point over & over — that psychiatry cannot be reformed, and must be abolished.
Oldhead, every word of this represents what I have been saying here. Thank you.
Good to know there are still some things we agree on. 🙂
During my 45 years of work as a psychiatric survivor human rights activist, I have been one of the main leaders to point out the problem with funding advocacy with government funds. I have worked very hard and publicly for independent funding for such activism. I am proud, even though it has been very challenging, to reach out for People Power and small foundation founding for advocacy groups.
I am saddened that several individuals seem to think that I have crawled and begged for government funding. Where have you been for the past 45 years? What do I have to do to prove pursuing independence?
That said, government is taxpayer money, produced often by hard-working people. That money ought to be funding positive alternatives for humane support. During the past few decades, a great deal has been accomplished by mental health consumers who have gotten federal and State money. Keep it up!
The comment above calls for “exposing” oppression. That is what I have been doing about SAMHSA. I am not crawling to SAMHSA to ask for funds, I have been exposing oppression.
That said, I think it is beautiful that so many empowered mental health consumers have been able to get funding for positive humane alternatives from federal and State governments.
Back in 1985, I was not able to attend the final International Conference for Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression, which was held in Vermont. For ten years, my friends who were also radical psychiatric survivors held these gatherings.
Please note, that it was not the funding for the Alternatives Conference that same year that “ended” the International Conference.
It was the incredible amount of infighting which I have personally witnessed for decades among us so-called radical psychiatric survivors.
Above you asked: “Why on earth would the government ever support ending forced psychiatry?”
Some day, we will WIN. There is a hopelessness in the above statement. I have seen taxpayer funding go to good activities. It is obviously true that there is an immense amount of oppression. But we will WIN.
No hopelessness here at all, unless you believe that this governmental and class structure is a given and will never be cast off. But it must be, for everyone’s survival; this is not optional or subject to personal convenience. As Che once said, “A revolution is not a garden party; in a revolution one wins or dies.”
I didn’t say that the “Alternatives” setup was in itself what ended the movement, but it was part of a COINTELPRO-like scheme in my view, strategically put in place to take advantage of the vulnerabilities, doubts and growing pains to which growing movements like ours are subject. Also to identify and enlist opportunistic movement “leaders” (I think you know what and whom I mean) who would jump at the idea of “official” status and government funding.
Now the “mental health consumer” industry is morphing into the “peer” industry, which is yet another effort to make human support a commodity best trusted to “certified” experts.
It was not “infighting” that led to the movement’s initial demise, but a failure to identify, confront and analyze internal conflicts in an organized, intelligent, dispassionate manner, combined with a lack of political experience and historical precedent when it came to fighting psychiatry. I’m not blaming specific people (there are one or two exceptions) but more the tendency of disempowered people to feel important and be taken in when they are given attention by the system that has long oppressed them; they mistake this for actual support or respect. Overcoming this is less a moral matter than one of discipline and experience, and — once people agree on their objectives — of strategy.
I apologize I now see that the database was linked. My point still stand on how to better disseminate this information regularly and with the aim to identify local community contacts to mine for relevant information if you have any thoughts on how to support such an endeavor I am eager to assist in the matter and I will be bringing this matter and the specific site in my state to my fellow members of my local PAIMI council before month’s end.
*please see my separate comment for context*
I am a bit late to the discussion trying to sift through the discourse before nose-diving into airing out a list of concerns based on what I’ve suffered myself in searching through the past 6 months maybe it will just naturally unfold but if not please refer to additional commentary. With that being said, respectfully and with the utmost consideration for conscientiously continuing this discourse….
*SAMHSA is one of the biggest federal agencies in behavioral health, and of course where a lot of the mental health consumer movement gets its money.*
I am of the understanding that SAMHSA is the sole federal agency charged with the near if not total entirety of fiduciary responsibility over distributing discretionary funds approved by the legislature and its appropriate appropriations subcommittees who agree upon a budget that is carried out over the term of a 4 year Fiscal Cycle. They are clearly compiling numbers but this is SAMHSA and the Federal Government ergo why it would be expected that they are in possession of the numbers is beyond me since I can safely presume the management of any and all of such information is beyond them ie the responsible parties are clearly going to be seated at the sites of the agencies that have been awarded grantee status.
May I beg in no uncertain desperation:
*PLEASE RELEASE THE COMPILED DATABASE OF ACTIVE GRANT SITES IMMEDIATELY FOR CLAIRITY ON WHERE THESE PROJECTS ARE UNFOLDING.*
At this moment we are well into FY 2 of the multi-million dollar cross national federally funded series of grant-based demonstration projects that will be assuredly used to adulterate the evidence base to justify the unreasonable yet seemingly unavoidable formalization of systemic programs of court-ordered compliance to ensure community containment, involuntary community commitment, and/or forced drugging for community living.
This practice is called Assisted Outpatient Treatment and aside from the truly abhorrent funding directed towards early identification and treatment of children in schools (re: project aware, suicide prevention programs, etc) nearly all focus for funding traditionally used in terms of community mental health services for adults has been now placed under fire as the advocates of AOT have successfully convinced congress that such programs do not serve the needs of the seriously mentally ill (if only they realized the same seriously mentally ill deserve the credit for all formerly worth but long since co-opted community based supports) Rather they successfully argue that for those psychiatrized as “seriously mentally ill” “seriously and persistently mentally ill” and my personal favorite “seriously and persistently VIOLENTLY mentally ill,” are a population that require coercion and force due to their lack of insight and alleged likelihood to be violent to themselves or others. Or isn’t everyone familiar with the Treatment Advocacy’s “preventable tragedies database” https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/evidence-and-research/preventable-tragedies
What does this mean? Well it means that money for mental illness is by and large being used in ways that entail forced drugging of adults via court ordered treatment and it would appear children who by way of their child-status are not autonomous and therefore must be considered bereft of their bodily autonomy ergo all child and adolescent treatment is inherently forced drugging when psych is concerned…
Whatever you’re stand on mad pride the powers at be could give a damn. They’ve decided our label and are effortlessly moving along in order to make sure the related professional experts are emboldened and supported in their curative crusades.
Sorry but this is where it is and where it’s going and unfortunately
So, with all respect to and the utmost compassion considering the justified discussion on how one might choose to identify themselves subsequent to being systematically psychiatrized or following the medical opinion that catalogues a psychiatric diagnosis as a qualifier to their personhood at this time, let’s get real about one thing: in the eyes of the sate this demographic—the psychiatrized or whatever best suits your self-determined right to have emancipatory ownership over your identity and preferred language over your sovereign and valid lived experience—is referred to as the mentally ill.
Furthermore, with consideration to the oversaturation of what constitutes mentally ill or mental health condition broadly (ie adhd, depress, anxiety vs bipolar 1, schizo-affective, schizophrenic, psychosis) it is important to point out that together when combined with the seriously mentally ill, the seriously persistently mentally ill, the seriously persistently violently mentally ill, this demographic now is largely evaluated and grouped in terms of the biggest economic burden to the public welfare state with ranges of 80-90% unemployment. So again that’s how we are being spoken of that is how we are known and I fear that until a vast number of consequential realities are dually rectified this hyperfocus on discussions that render us less aligned than unified towards our shared needs is a bullet to the head.
Abolition yes. But in the meantime how about the right to informed choice and bodily autonomy broadly. I am not speaking of reform I am rather seeking to secure an entering wedge, one that is takes mindful intention to the actual lives of those who are currently constrained and contained to the orders of their prescriptive treatments or simply the internalized oppression and desperate survival strategy of many of us successfully living in invisibility or rather relative system expiry.
***“mental health consumers movement” (which was always and remains a ruse designed to undermine the anti-psychiatry movement)…**
It is unfair to say that it was and remains a ruse as they were quite clear in the time subsequent to their power grab, I want to point out that Judi Chamberlin (shame to her name), in particular did not shy away from this fact as she spoke fiercely and plainly against anti-psychiatry and repeatedly disavowed the movement in the course of her tenure and in the vein of justify and garnering support for the consumer movement which I guess decided that you have the right to choose but not the right to abstain in radical autonomy if that means other people can’t choose to play your bodily sovereignty in jeopardy by choosing to support reform.
Just saying what may have felt like a ruse, in retrospect reads as a story of in-fighting wherein the victor so to speak made sure to nail the coffin shut on their adversary despite future casualties which unfortunately should have and initially may have existed as their most relevant ally and co-conspirator. At least that is how it comes across in the Academic literature, which is itself not adequately all encompassing but nevertheless plays the role of historic record for those learning about it from the position of institutional knowledge and that matters as their subsequent influence will undoubtedly be informed by it and what it informs is that some of us are more deserving of visibility and voice than other simultaneously revealing we take no hesitations when it comes to serving up our discontents to the slaughter.
In any case it absolutely played into the division and disunity necessary to ensure a marginalized population would never begin to reach that of relevant constituency let alone fully recognized citizen because full stop if you have a psych diagnosis regardless of what you want to term your individual citizenry and human dignity are inherently under conditionality per the needs of carceral care. The dissolution of this comment thread and many other similar breakdowns in discourse have me fearing little has changed in terms of stalling out on semantics while the wheels of injustice reach warp speed.
Which leads me to…
***Since 2016, SAMHSA, the large US mental health agency, has quietly supported this rise of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) through two major grants impacting hundreds of American citizens, and this endorsement can carry a lot of weight throughout the nation.****
This has not been quiet it has just been well organized and spectacularly executed by a dedicated group of friends and families in cohorts with the vested interests of pharma lobbies and gun rights advocates all working for their own best interest. (Much of it is even available for viewing on youtube). Meanwhile the rest of the relevant stakeholders (ie persons that have been psychiatrized) have been for whatever reason (I have my thoughts but that is a whole different aside) have been unable to successfully disrupt the process to the point that it is noted in testimony to no resolution (ie legislator where are the people with lived experience at this hearing, response: idk probably to sick or something did i mention they murdered this man’s wife, enter the widower and father of currently detained adult with SMI, rinse repeat from 2012-2016)
If we’re keeping with the slickness of it all it would appear that those most impacted were robbed like a thief in the night if one considers what the “bipartisan” midnight signing of the 21st century cares act was and takes as a literal and metaphorical example the silent dismantling of lived experience stakeholder representation and fortification of medical-models of biologically based justifications that coercion tactics should remain paramount in many cases or all those if one is dealing with a serious and persistent matter.
Unfortunately and fortunately there are hours upon hours of c-span congressional archives available to review to see that for the broader interests concerned this was done loudly and proudly and with ruthless disregard I’d even wager outright defiance for involving the population at hand. There are patent expirations and rebranding of Bluetooth trackable Abilify to give a little light on the name of just one vested interest in the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on crafting the worst of the Murphy Bill into the bulwark of the Cures Act. The NRA did it’s due diligence in dollars too.
The unmistakably loaded rhetoric of it all even made it into the annual c-span archive projects on footage from the time wherein the language used was coldly examined in terms of future retrospectives on languages used to effectively sensationalize and enliven the feeling of crisis at hand needed to ensure swift and speedy consensus.
*As for SAMHSA, what the devil gives he takes away — why should we bargain with it in any form or take its money?*
Considering the entry way to my rabbit hole was largely over how and why the Alternatives Conference unceremoniously stopped I’d tend to agree except for the caveat that if money is taken it should be done so strategically and with an eye to create community-level sustainability and development of space that intends to become financially independent.
Best to do better with the money while it’s still around and it is ALWAYS in our interest to know with crystal clarity what money is being used to pollute or detoxify the services and systems of support that provide or at least attempt to provide life saving aid. I’m talking about food and housing and fellowship but then again this has always been an issue of anti-poverty and broader failure to unify under that banner is surely not helping the languishing levels of growing impoverishment. What’s more again circles back to the need for systematic and comprehensive organizing that can center around a goal for abolition (joining up with all other abolitionary groups) and then start to chip away at the reality at hand.
Yes! Thank you malevolentmad. I agree with everything you said.
Hi Mad — We never resumed our email conversation. Let’s take some of this up there (at the group address) as I prefer not to splash what should be primarily internal survivor discussions all over MIA — especially as much of this can get pretty nuanced.
As for “Alternatives” XX — let’s cut to the chase: who have the primary funding sources been for all this “free” money (aside from SAMHSA)? Who pulls the strings? (I stand by my characterization btw.)
Btw the International Conference On Human Rights & Psychiatric Oppression also was funded entirely by the individuals and groups which attended. The last conference in Vermont was disrupted by at least one person I would describe as a provocateur (who later became a honcho in the “consumers’ rights” movement). This has been portrayed as “infighting,” but in retrospect can be seen as part of a premeditated assault on our integrity, motivated by our growing success.
“empowered mental health consumers”
I’m sorry, but this makes it abundantly clear we aren’t pitching for the same team.
I’m an abolitionist. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience and tool of oppression. Promoting the notion of “empowered consumerism” is capitalist propaganda.
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I just visited the site of a new organization called MadFreedom founded by Wilda L. White, a fantastic leader in the psychiatric survivors movement. I highly encourage folks to read why she uses the term ‘mad’ in her own organizing work.
Removed for moderation.
If she’s using that sort of identity politics terminology she’s not a leader but another misleader, although we can always grow and change (which is the only reason for having this discussion). One or two people do not make an organization however.
A few brief comments about facts & apparent mis-information in these comments, which has become unfortunately “normal” on the internet in general.
1. Way back in 1976, I walked into my first radical psychiatric survivor meeting, Mental Patients Liberation Front. That is where I met my friend, the late author Judi Chamberlin. Certainly, some individuals had major differences of opinion, we all do. However, I have never ever seen Judi Chamberlin denounce the “anti-psychiatry movement.” If anyone can point to any reliable quote on the internet to back up such an outrageously false claim, please do so. It is sad to see an opportunity for discussion about SAMHSA’s failing, to defame this amazing activist. She and I may have differed, but Judi was super-duper amazing.
2. During this discussion, the concept of “neurodiversity” was opposed. I do not understand the call for major change, while engaging in such minor, trivial reform as telling OTHER people what they should call themselves. Not only is that minor reform, it is absurdly irrelevant.
3. Some individuals may choose to not use “alternatives” themselves. However, in a major international conference that was totally independently funded and included many psychiatric survivors, almost every single workshop was on the topic of humane, empowering alternatives. The reality is that many people want wonderful choices like humane respite, empowering peer support, and much more. This often takes money. My background is working class. Working people pay for the bulk of taxes and they want their tax money to go to positive programs, and in my mind the above “alternatives” are exactly the positive programs folks will some day WANT to fund as they become more informed.
You know, this direction of discussion seems irrelevant. If folks have questions for me that are on topic, please email me at [email protected].
And if anyone else sees obvious factual misinformation, let me know!
Judi did make the comment that those who called themselves “antipsychiatrists” did not have the interests of the average “mental patient” at heart, however this was not a reference to anti-psychiatry survivors and psychiatric inmates, but to Laing, Cooper, and other “radical” psychiatrists who did nothing to actually try to eliminate psychiatry:
Although the terms have often been used interchangeably, “mental patients” liberation” (or “psychiatric inmates’ liberation”) and “anti-psychiatry” are not the same thing “Anti-psychiatry” is largely an intellectual exercise of academics and dissident mental health professionals. There has been little attempt within anti- psychiatry to reach out to struggling ex-patients or to include their perspective.
Actually Judi’s focus on “alternatives” (i.e. addressing human needs on an individual level) contained the seeds of the basic contradiction that has historically undermined the anti-psychiatry movement, which is the assumption that the purpose of psychiatry is to help people, and that it just does a bad job — instead of the recognition that the actual purpose of psychiatry is to accommodate individuals to the inhuman demands of corporate culture. Which is closer to genocide than “help.”
Today I would consider true anti-psychiatry and “mental patients’ liberation” (a term seldom used anymore) to be essentially the same thing.
Agreed. For, as you well know, actually, most in the present day “anti psychiatry camp” have been former patients and it is our sincere desire to both warn any possible future patients and assist those who wish to no longer be patients; because it truly is “killing” them. Of course, the ultimate goal is to end psychiatry; because it is evil. It is the modern day serpent that seduces the vulnerable and gullible not just from their garden, but to their demise. Ending psychiatry may be the most important thing we can do to save humanity and therefore our home, the planet Earth. Thank you.
SAMSHA has been a questionable agency since its inception. I choose to live, have no desperation to die and therefore I refuse to call my self “mad.” I think it was Shakespeare who gave the notion that there is a thin line between “madness” and “genius.” I barely made it through Shakespeare, fell asleep in art history, dropped chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology. I fell asleep in Psych 1, too. I failed geometry and had to take it in summer school. In statistics, I finally got a tutor. Such an awful student I was. So I can’t be mad according to Shakespeare’s definition. But, most importantly, according to me, I will never be mad and never was. Thank you.
Expecting SAMHSA to change its stripes is like waiting for tigers to turn vegan.
Judi Chamberlin had a T-Shirt that said “Women Aren’t Mad, They’re Angry.”
As you can see David, SAMSHA is quite MAD. Psychiatry is MAD. There is just absolutely NO WAY, to “work” with any psych related agencies. It is about power and money, nothing more.
Really all labels are just psychiatry defining people as MAD. So might as well
have the various labels pride month.
Maybe a Self-denigration Pride Month?
The concept of “alternatives” itself is basically a scam which upholds the unwarranted legitimacy of psychiatry in the public mindset.
This should not be a major leap of logic for those who understand what psychiatry is. But it seems to require an “aha” moment for many to grasp: that something which is designed as a tool of repression does not need an “alternative,” it just needs to be rooted out and excised.
To say that anything which addresses true human needs in a positive manner is an “alternative to psychiatry,” which is inherently destructive and oppressive, is an absurd characterization.
To say that the anti-psychiatry movement — which is designed to eliminate psychiatry — must simultaneously satisfy the needs that psychiatry falsely claims to satisfy is equally absurd. Only revolution can do that.
This is not to say that people can’t explore ways of addressing their personal pain (as the system which creates it continues to grind on relentlessly and without serious challenge). But even were they to be successful these would not represent “alternatives to psychiatry” but temporary “band-aid” strategies to weather the ongoing assaults on their humanity. Psychiatry exists to reinforce disempowerment and alienation, and should be dismembered before it has another opportunity to rear its head. The last thing we need is an “alternative,” any more than we need “alternatives” to slavery or to drinking arsenic; we just need it to STOP.
When I think of the idea of “mad pride” I am reminded that “pride goeth before the fall.” Psych survivors need to realize that this is something of which we cannot fall or rather fail. We must end psychiatry, etc. We can not let our pride get in the way or impede us from this goal. In order to do this, we can not revel in the falsehood of “mad pride.” We must remind ourselves of who we are. We are not mad, crazy, whacko, cuckoo, insane, psychiatrically disabled, mentally ill or any of those lies they have tried to ram down our throats through their drugs and therapizing. We have every right to be here, to live, to survive, to exist, to contribute, to be human. We are not defective or a fraction of a human or a sub-human or any such nonsense. And considering oneself “mad” as in “mad pride” lets them win. This is inexcusable. We must win; for we are not mere survivors; but we are warriors. We will not be silenced. We have goodness and righteousness on our side. So, please don’t slow us down by selling us the lie of “mad pride.” There is no pride in being mad; only sadness. Thank you.
This will be my last comment as I do not believe Mad in America has any intention of ever addressing the concerns brought up by survivors ad nauseam in both its own publication and in these comments sections. I think this continued rehashing of the same stories of victim blaming and abuse by the psychiatric industry is disgraceful, and the encouragement of “mad pride” in those who have been subject to such has been a source of contention for at least 50 years, going back to the writings on women and madness by feminist authors Phyllis Chesler, Kate Millet, and Shulamith Firestone, among others. There is nothing that I have personally brought up that hasn’t been discussed and written about by feminist survivors for many decades now. It is time for this organization to take an actual stand that is clearly in line with the science against this system of harm. There is nothing left to rethink.
The whole concept of ‘madness’ is more gaslighting and abuse and it doesn’t matter if it’s coming from professionals or survivors. But don’t take it from me. Generation after generation of feminist survivors have come to the same damn conclusions. There is a wonderful British radical feminist psychologist, Dr Jessica Taylor, who has been standing up for women and girls for years. This is from 2019!!
I’m done here and won’t return until there is a serious reckoning within this organization about its own complicity in this system of harm.
Completely agree with you KS.
I have personally learned much from your comments, which
have been as valuable or more so than many of the articles…
but then of course I would not have benefitted if not for
these articles 🙂
I hope others get to hear or read your writings. Thanks
for all the work you do.