Call for Teen Art in All Media!


Attention all family, friends, and other supporters of youths ages 13-19! Mad in America’s Family Resources and Arts sections are co-sponsoring an online multimedia art exhibition with the theme “Beyond Labels and Meds: What It Feels Like to Be Me.”

There are many initiatives focused on the intersection of adolescence and mental health these days, and the adults behind them typically define the narrative. So, we are offering a platform to encourage teen artists in all genres to define their unique experiences, identities, struggles, and dreams on their own terms.

The exhibition’s theme asks teen artists to show us their experience with emotional distress, labels, meds, and their interactions with psychiatry. Their work should answer the question:

“What do you want the world to know about what it is like being a teen today?”

Entries can be in any creative medium including painting, photography, or other visual art; sculpture; music; video; dance; poetry or spoken word; or mixed media.

The artworks they submit will be displayed on and shared across our social media later this year. (All rights will remain with the creators.) Besides gaining an opportunity to be featured on the site, teen artists may be invited to participate in an artist interview series.

This call will be open for two months starting September 1, 2022. Deadline for submissions is January 1, 2023. Artists will be notified of acceptance soon thereafter.

Please share this announcement with the young people in your life. Submission guidelines, including eligibility requirements and an application form, can be found here. If you have any general questions or concerns, please email Miranda Spencer at [email protected]; for questions or issues with art submissions, contact Karin Jervert at [email protected].

Editor’s Note: The original deadline was November 1, but due to some plans we have in the works, we’ve decided to extend it till the end of this year.







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.


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  1. Teen Art is great. But please drop all talk of labels and meds. Make no reference whatsoever to anything to do with “Mental Health”, not anywhere in the organizing or the recruitment, or anywhere.

    There is no such thing as Mental Illness, it has always been just a means of persecuting people. We all need to fight the Mental Health System in everyway possible.

    Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg put his 13yo daughter into an out of state mental hospital.

    He thinks everyone is on some “Mental Illness Spectrum”, and so we all need to be doing cell phone check-ins with Thomas Insel’s Auditors.

    He made this video at the last minute to get Care Courts passed, and without talking about his daughter. And it has passed.

    Deadly Logic of Care Courts

    And you can’t reason with someone like Steinberg, because we are all mentally ill. So it just comes down to power, social power, legal power, financial power.

    Steinberg with his Prop 63 2004, has largely made CA into a 40 million bed mental hospital already. Most families not rich enough to hire private doctors have someone who they now believe has a brain chemical imbalance and that they are only kept going by psychiatric meds and by checking in with their therapist.,for%20the%20residents%20of%20California.

    I would love to know who put up the money to get Prop 63 passed. They did polling to see what the voters would go for, and they decided on a Millionaire’s Tax. Since it has raised $30 billion and is up to $8.3 billion per year. Then they ran one week of statewide TV ads and it passed with 53% of the vote. What has followed has been the largest deception and mass drugging ever known.

    We need to prosecute these people and get them the sentences they deserve.

    So if people want to survive, they can’t ever trifle with the Mental Health System, we all need to fight it in everyway possible.


    School of Rock

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  2. Anyone who wants to tell their psychiatric history can do so here. Or they can do it on a blog of their own or anywhere of a number of other places. But please don’t expect people to contribute art to something liked with the concept of “mental illness”.

    The only talk there should ever be of the mental health system is how people bested it. And no I don’t mean how they Recovered, I mean how they held the perpetrators accountable.


    More edgy:

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    • Miranda, suppose someone was putting on an art show were people were free to express support for Eugenics, Racism, and Anti-Semitism? Would that be okay with you?

      It’s the same way with anything which supports the Mental Health System or the Autism / Apspergers / Neurodiversity Hoax.

      Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg had put his daughter in an out of state psychiatric hospital at the age of 13.

      Well, getting her away from her parents may well have been life saving. But it shouldn’t have to stick to her.

      But back living in an apartment in nearby Rocklin, going to the community college in her 20’s, she still says that she has “mental illness”.

      Well of course it is easier for her to go along with that. And her parents have money, so the costs of opposing them would be high.

      And the people who run these private hospitals know what their job is, to make the girl believe that it is something about her that caused conflict with her parents, that she contains the locus of Original Sin, and that their couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with them.

      And it will always be like this anytime we support the concept of Mental Illness or Autism/Aspergers.


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  3. Beyond Labels and Meds, What it feels like to be me.

    Miranda, when I was in high school they brought in a local man to talk to us. He had survived the Nazi death camps. Because of frost bite he had had to amputate two of his own toes with a pair of scissors.

    The father of a friend of mine in college had survived Auschwitz. Would you gather such persons together for a show:

    Beyond Labels and Meds, What it feels like to be me.

    Simon Wiesenthal did not forget, but you seem to be telling people that it is better to forget.

    About Erving Goffman’s Asylums:

    “Based on his participant observation field work (he was employed as a physical therapist’s assistant under a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health at a mental institution in Washington, D.C.), Goffman details his theory of the “total institution” (principally in the example he gives, as the title of the book indicates, mental institutions) and the process by which it takes efforts to maintain predictable and regular behavior on the part of both “guard” and “captor,” suggesting that many of the features of such institutions serve the ritual function of ensuring that both classes of people know their function and social role, in other words of “institutionalising” them. Goffman concludes that adjusting the inmates to their role has at least as much importance as “curing” them. In the essay “Notes on the Tinkering Trades,” Goffman concluded that the “medicalization” of mental illness and the various treatment modalities are offshoots of the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution and that the so-called “medical model” for treating patients was a variation on the way trades- and craftsmen of the late 19th century repaired clocks and other mechanical objects: in the confines of a shop or store, contents and routine of which remained a mystery to the customer.

    So do you think a “Beyond Labels and Meds, What it feels like to be me” show is an adequate response?


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  4. Miranda you say these are teens. How many are still juveniles?

    If they are being encouraged to say anything like, “I have mental illness, a DSM diagnosis, and I have to take my meds”, I would say that that constitutes criminally punishable child abuse right there.

    How did they get into the mental health system in the first place, and are they still living with the same parents who called 911 to win a family fight?

    Again, child abuse.

    Now it is possible that some of these teens have come to like being on drugs. But a licensed medical practitioner cannot write prescriptions just for that. Such would be medical malpractice and child abuse.

    I take it that there is no physical space for any of this. Because if this was being hosted by a school or a community center, their people would all be mandatory reporters. Failure to report in a suspected case of child abuse would be a state felony, and it would be a federal felony. Having any involvement with it at all, something which encourages juveniles to identify as mentally ill, would certainly be conduct unbecoming and unsuitable for anything receiving tax payer funding.


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  5. Suppose I organized a show:

    “Congenitally Degenerate Youth Seeking Your Approval”

    Mental Illness has no objective basis, it is like Foucault has written just a new casting of original sin. So how is this any different from your show?

    Is it just that the parents like this, rather than a harsh retribution seeking anti-psychiatry posture?

    And aren’t the parents usually going to have been the original abusers?



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