The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: The Story of MPA
The Carnegie Community Centre Marks Mental Health Week with the Premiere of
THE INMATES ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM
The Story of MPA, Vancouver’s Ground-Breaking Mental Health Group
Free Screenings at 4 & 6 pm Saturday May 11th
Carnegie Theatre, Hastings & Main, Vancouver, BC
4 pm screening will be followed by a panel discussion
May 2, 2013 — Vancouver, BC The heady radicalism of the 1970s gave birth to a path-breaking Canadian mental health organization that provided former mental patients with work, homes, community, and a chance to take charge of their own lives. The Inmates Are Running The Asylum is a documentary about Mental Patients Association (MPA), Vancouver’s ground-breaking mental health group, founded in the 1970s as a reaction to the dehumanizing experience many faced while in mental hospitals and after release.
On Saturday, May 11, 2013, the Carnegie Community Centre, 401 Main St., Vancouver) will host the premiere of The Inmates Are Running The Asylum with back-to-back screenings: the first at 4:00 p.m., followed by a panel discussion, the second at 6:00 p.m. - both public screenings will be free.
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum follows the lives of MPA members, as they tell their stories of founding what has been described as the most successful psychiatric survivor organization in the world. MPA’s radical mental health programs were remarkably successful. Early members who helped create this film are convinced that the story of the organization they loved offers vital lessons to those who direct the current mental health system – a system that fails so many.
Unabashedly political, MPA was an advocacy and protest organization as well as a support group. MPA saw that mental health rights were strongly connected to other social justice issues. “MPA was very consciously modelled on the women's rights and gay rights movements,” said Lanny Beckman, original instigator of MPA. “And had the same goal: liberation.” But with less visible victories than those groups, history has forgotten the early mad movement.
At the request of original MPA members, executive producer Megan Davies, a professor at Toronto's York University, coordinated the documentary. The MPA members had full input on the film making process, even choosing what segments of their interviews would be included in the film - which is unheard of in the documentary film world.
MPA inverted all traditional notions of mental health. Its drop-in programs based on peer support and its “mad pride” ethos were unfathomable at first to the psychiatric mainstream. But their approach worked. Through communal living, work opportunities and a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour, MPA created focus and meaning in the lives of oppressed people.
The Inmates Are Running The Asylum will be simultaneously premiering on May 11 in Vancouver and Glasgow, Scotland, and is the first of many grassroots screenings of the film across Canada.
A limited number of media seats will be reserved at a private screening on Thursday, May 9, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. at Simon Fraser University’s downtown Fletcher Challenge Theatre (room 1900).
For further Information, please contact: Megan Davies
T. 416 575 4253
Documentary Film: Mars Project
Director: Jonathan Balazs
"Mars Project is a film that seeks to recount significant events in the life of Khari “Conspiracy” Stewart – a contemporary wordsmith specializing in hip hop rhyme forms. With innumerable battles waging as far back as his adolescence, his other-worldly experiences often manifested themselves through a dense and dark catalog of recorded music, all of which he has recorded independently. Conspiracy has been performing for the last decade in a group called the Supreme Being Unit (or “S.B.U.”) with his twin-brother Addi “Mindbender” Stewart. While Conspiracy's creativity is an identifying factor of his persona, he is the victim and the beneficiary of a plagued mind that has, simultaneously debilitated him and formed the foundation for his identity. He treads the line between a tormented artist or drug-addled rapper, but his experience resonates with all of us." - JB
To learn more about Mars Project, click on:
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/themarsprojectmovie?feature=watch
Web site: www.marsprojectmovie.com
Book Release: Mad Matters
Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies
Edited by Brenda A. LeFrançois, Robert Menzies and Geoffrey Reaume
In 1981, Toronto activist Mel Starkman wrote: "An important new movement is sweeping through the western world.... The 'mad,' the oppressed, the ex-inmates of society's asylums are coming together and speaking for themselves."
Mad Matters brings together the writings of this vital movement, which has grown explosively in the years since. With contributions from scholars in numerous disciplines, as well as activists and psychiatric survivors, it presents diverse critical voices that convey the lived experiences of the psychiatrized and challenges dominant understandings of "mental illness." The connections between mad activism and other liberation struggles are stressed throughout, making the book a major contribution to the literature on human rights and anti-oppression.
Reviews and Comments
"This book is a much needed addition to the field of Disability Studies." Nancy Hansen, University of Manitoba
"This reader fills a clear gap in Canadian scholarship. It will, in my view, put Mad Studies 'on the map' and open this important area of study to a much larger audience. It will be particularly useful for senior undergraduate and graduate students but also brings together a disparate body of literature that will be useful to specialists in the field and to those who teach Disabilities, Mad Studies, and Social History." Thomas E. Brown, Mount Royal University
Brenda A. LeFrançois is Associate Professor of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Robert Menzies is Professor of Sociology at Simon Fraser University.
Geoffrey Reaume is Associate Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University.
Table Of Contents
Introducing Mad Studies
Part I: Mad People's History, Evolving Culture, and Language
Chapter 1: The Movement, Mel Starkman
Chapter 2: Women in 19th Century Asylums: Three Exemplary Women; A New Brunswick Hero, Nérée St-Amand and Eugène LeBlanc
Chapter 3: Democracy Is a Very Radical Idea, Lanny Beckman and Megan J. Davies
Chapter 4: What Makes Us a Community? Reflections on Building Solidarity in Anti-Sanist Praxis, Shaindl Diamond
Chapter 5: A Rose by Any Other Name: Naming and the Battle against Psychiatry, Bonnie Burstow
Part II: Mad Engagements
Chapter 6: "Breaking open the bone": Storying, Sanism, and Mad Grief, Jennifer M. Poole and Jennifer Ward
Chapter 7: Mad as Hell: The Objectifying Experience of Symbolic Violence, Ji-Eun Lee
Chapter 8: A Denial of Being: Psychiatrization as Epistemic Violence, Maria Liegghio
Chapter 9: Mad Success: What Could Go Wrong When Psychiatry Employs Us as "Peers"? Erick Fabris
Part III: Critiques of Psychiatry: Practice and Pedagogy
Chapter 10: The Tragic Farce of "Community Mental Health Care," Irit Shimrat
Chapter 11: Electroshock: Torture as "Treatment," Don Weitz
Chapter 12: Is Mad Studies Emerging as a New Field of Inquiry? David Reville
Chapter 13: Making Madness Matter in Academic Practice, Kathryn Church
Part IV: Law, Public Policy, and Media Madness
Chapter 14: Mad Patients as Legal Intervenors in Court, Lucy Costa
Chapter 15: Removing Civil Rights: How Dare We? Gordon Warme
Chapter 16: "They should not be allowed to do this to the homeless and mentally ill": Minimum Separation Distance Bylaws Reconsidered, Lilith "Chava" Finkler
Chapter 17: The Making and Marketing of Mental Health Literacy in Canada, Kimberley White and Ryan Pike
Chapter 18: Pitching Mad: News Media and the Psychiatric Survivor Perspective, Rob Wipond
Part V: Social Justice, Madness, and Identity Politics
Chapter 19: Mad Nation? Thinking through Race, Class, and Mad Identity Politics, Rachel Gorman
Chapter 20: Whither Indigenizing the Mad Movement? Theorizing the Social Relations of Race and Madness through Conviviality, Louise Tam
Chapter 21: Spaces in Place: Negotiating Queer In/visibility within Psychiatric and Mental Health Service Settings, Andrea Daley
Chapter 22: Rerouting the Weeds: The Move from Criminalizing to Pathologizing "Troubled Youth" in The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence, Jijian Voronka
Chapter 23: Recovery: Progressive Paradigm or Neoliberal Smokescreen? Marina Morrow
Glossary of Terms
Case Law and Statutes
About the Editors and Contributors
Published: May 2013
Format: 380pp, Paperback
Robert Castel - 1933 - 2013
By Nicolas Henckes and Anne Lovell
French sociologist and historian Robert Castel passed away on March 12, 2013, at the age of 79. An important figure in French intellectual life over the past two decades, he was an acute observer of the transformations of the relationship between contemporary societies and their vulnerable populations. But Robert Castel is most probably best known to readers of this blog as the author of some of the most fertile analyses of the transformation of French and American psychiatry in the 19th and 20th centuries. Originally trained as a philosopher, Castel turned to sociology thanks to the influence of Pierre Bourdieu, but soon forged an independent path. From the mid-1960s until the early 1980s, a period when he was close to Michel Foucault, Castel went on to develop a highly original and coherent research trajectory around a sociological understanding of psychiatry, characterized by his capacity to seize with great precision social processes and their temporal boundaries, but also by his attentiveness to the very texture of the underlying discourses that became the material for his analyses. The strength of the work he published during this period lies partly in his sensitivity to transformations in real time in the very fields he was observing.
At first, and like most observers and actors within psychiatry at the time, Castel’s preoccupations concerned the question of the psychiatric institution. In Le psychanalysme (1973), he showed how the institution itself shaped French psychoanalysis in the 1960s, while L’ordre psychiatrique (1976, English translation: The Regulation of Madness) traced the origins of the French psychiatric institution in the genesis of the Law of June 30, 1838, with its dual roots in criminal justice and psychiatry and its loose criteria for commitment, which remained in effect until the 1990s. He then focused his analytical gaze beyond institutional psychiatry, on the new means of constituting and governing the normal and the pathological in the “psy” world of the end of the 1970s (La société psychiatrique avancée, 1979, co-authored with Françoise Castel and Anne M. Lovell, and published in English as The Psychiatric Society, 1983 ; and La gestion des risques, in 1982). Castel’s analysis of the strategies developed through French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s new social policies for managing populations at risk influenced British works on the forms that governmentality through risk took in advanced liberal societies (e.g. Nikolas Rose’s work). Castel’s perspectives on the means through which psychotherapeutic practices and psychological discourse after 1968 constituted a “social world within a world without the social” contributed to the emergence of a new form of “asocial sociability” is still one of the most relevant analyses about the contribution of “psy” disciplines to contemporary individualism.
Beyond his academic involvement, Robert Castel was moved by a certain idea of how psychiatry should be practiced, a view he defended along with his wife Françoise Castel, a public psychiatrist, and with the Italian radical psychiatrist, Franco Basaglia. The untimely death of both undoubtedly influenced his decision to take on new subjects in the second half of the 1980s. After a study of how problem drug users exit from drug dependence (toxicomanie), he began a ten-year project which was to become the second great moment in his oeuvre. Les métamorphoses de la question sociale, published in 1995 (English translation, From manual workers to wage laborers: transformation of the social question, 2011), gained a broad readership, from social scientists to elected officials and activists from all points along the political spectrum. This historical sociology analyzes the constitution and transformations of the wage-worker (salariat) as a social and political condition, a process which broadens the forms of vulnerability and disaffiliation already revealed in Castel’s earlier analyses of mental illness.
Always extremely lucid about his own trajectory, Castel devoted his last years to penetrating analyses on the future of the social critique hewn by sociologists from the generation of the Sixties in a world marked by the end of utopian possibilities and of voluntaristic positions on social integration. The totality of Castel’s objects of analysis may raise numerous questions; those regarding psychiatry certainly call for a re-evaluation of the body of his work. Yet that body of work constitutes an impressive ensemble, which any historian or sociologist interested in contemporary transformations of psychiatry and the social must confront at one moment or another.
Castel, Françoise, Robert Castel, and Anne M. Lovell. 1982 The psychiatric society. Columbia University Press.
Castel, Robert. 1973 Le psychanalysme. F. Maspero.
________. 1988 The regulation of madness: The origins of incarceration in France. University of California Press Berkeley.
________. 1991 “From dangerousness to risk.” In G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P. Miller, eds. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp, 281–298
The Inmates are Running the Asylum
Film Premiere: "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Date: May 11, 2013
Location: Carnegie Community Centre, 401 Main Street (corner of Main and Hastings), Vancouver, BC Canada
An upcoming documentary about the Vancouver based Mental Patients Association: a radical mental health group founded in the 70s.
“Radical History must be public history and public history must be radical history. Activism, like history, begins with the telling.”
-Max Page, American historian
This is the story of MPA.
In the fall of 1970 Lanny Beckman had just come out of his second stint at a Vancouver psychiatric ward. The day program he was attending wasn’t helping much. Limited to 9-5 weekday activities, and forbidden to have contact with fellow patients outside of the group, emotionally distressed participants struggled to adjust to community living. Three committed suicide, all on the weekends.
Lanny’s response revolutionized community mental health. Beckman started a radical peer advocacy and support group called MPA or Mental Patients Association – a bold “in your face” name that refuted deeply stigmitizing social attitudes toward mental health. Inverting traditional mental health hierarchies, the group put former patients and sympathetic supporters in charge. MPA provided work, homes, a sense of belonging and empowerment to ex-patients. Members used participatory democracy for organizational decision-making. All paid jobs were decided in open elections.
For the past two years Lanny and other MPA founders have been crafting a film about the early MPA. No surprise, they have broken most of the rules of documentary filmmaking. The result? A compelling 32-minute reel that blends radicalism, history, and irreverent commentary on our current mental health system. They call it “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum”.
For more information, click on: https://www.facebook.com/mpafilm?ref=stream
Reel Lives: Madness, Addiction and Crime in Canada
Reel Lives: Madness, Addiction and Crime in Canada
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (Harbour Centre) Campus
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sat. May 11, 2013, 9am-5pm
Join us for a critical dialogue about depictions of madness, addiction and crime in Canadian documentary films
The event is free but seating is limited
Lanny Beckman • Janis Cole • Megan Davies • Mona Gleason • Harry Karlinsky • Coleen Rajotte • Nettie Wild • Ezra Winton
Sponsored by the SFU Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health
RSVP by Fri. April 19 to
Globalising Mental Health or Pathologising the Global South?
Call for Papers
Globalising Mental Health or Pathologising the Global South? Mapping the Ethics, Theory and Practice of Global Mental Health
Disability and the Global South: An International Journal www.dgsjournal.org
Guest Editors: China Mills and Suman Fernando
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Movement for Global Mental Health, are calling to ‘scale up’ psychiatric treatments, often specifically access to psychiatric drugs, globally, and particularly within the global South. Amid these calls, others can be heard, from those who have received psychiatric treatments in the global North and South, and from some critical and transcultural psychiatrists, to abolish psychiatric diagnostic systems and to acknowledge the harm caused by some medications. Furthermore, voices have also been raised advocating the need to address social suffering, personal distress and community trauma in the global South in a context of poverty, political violence and natural disasters; and calling for people given psychiatric diagnoses to have their human rights protected by disability legislation.
The Movement for Global Mental Health frames distress as an illness like any other, calling for global equality in access to psychiatric medication. However there is a growing body of research from the global North that documents the harmful effects of long-term use of psychiatric medication and questions the usefulness of psychiatric models (see Angell, 2011; and Whitaker, 2010). This raises concerns; about the ‘evidence base’ of Global Mental Health; about increasing access to psychiatric drugs globally; about the promotion of psychiatric diagnoses such as ‘depression’ as an illness; and changes the terms of debate around equality between the global South and North. What are the ethics of ‘scaling up’ treatments within the global South whose efficacy are still hotly debated within the global North?
There are other concerns about Global Mental Health; that it exports Western ways of being a person and concepts of distress that are alien to many cultures, and imposed from the ‘top down’, potentially repeating colonial and imperial relations (Summerfield, 2008), and that psychiatry discredits and replaces alternative forms of healing that are local, religious or indigenous (Watters, 2010). Alongside this, many users and survivors of the psychiatric system argue for the right to access non-medical and non-Western healing spaces, and to frame their experience as distress and not to depoliticise it as ‘illness’ (PANUSP, 2012). Yet for the pharmaceutical industry – there is a huge financial incentive in both expanding the boundaries of what counts as illness, and expanding across geographical borders into the often ‘untapped’ markets of the global South. This marks a process of psychiatrization, where increasing numbers of people across the globe come to be seen, and to see themselves, as ‘mentally ill’ (Rose, 2006).
This is the context in which this special issue is situated. We would like to invite contributions that are inter-disciplinary and that ground rich conceptual work in ‘on the ground’ practice. We really welcome papers that try to grapple with the complexity and the messiness of debates around Global Mental Health. We hope to explore a range of issues and address some difficult questions, including (but not exclusively);
Issues over access to healthcare and the right to treatment in the global South, and how these debates may be different for mental distress compared to physical illness and disability
Critical analysis of the evidence base of Global Mental Health and the ‘treatment gap’ in mental health care between the global South and North
Global mental health as a disabling practice
Examples of mental health activism and lobbying within the global South as well as resistance
Dilemmas and accounts of ‘doing’ mental health work in the global South, notably in contexts of poverty
The globalisation of psychiatry; accounts of how psychiatry travels, and of whether counter-approaches to mental health (alternative or indigenous frameworks) may travel too
Accounts of alternative ways of understanding health, distress and healing – counter-epistemologies and plural approaches from the global South and North.
Issues around colonialism, imperialism and psychiatry, and of possibilities for decolonising psychiatric practises
The role of the pharmaceutical industry and its connections with psychiatry – the global production, distribution and marketing of drugs – how drugs travel globally.
An exploration of the ethical dimensions of Global Mental Health, and who has the power to set the Global Mental Health agenda.
Should wellbeing and distress be addressed by health policy and medical funding, or be understood outside of a medical framework?
What are Global Mental Health interventions claiming to ‘treat’?
Is there a role for psychiatry within Global Mental Health?
Critical approaches to the Movement for Global Mental Health; can and should mental health be global?
We particularly welcome contributions from those who have lived experience of a psychiatric diagnosis, or of distress, and those who work in the global South, or in contents of poverty, on mental health issues. Short reports and stories, are equally encouraged alongside longer theoretical papers. Papers should be no more than 8000 words, with an abstract of 150-200 words.
Those wishing to submit an article or express an interest in contributing, please email China Mills
. Manuscripts will be sent anonymously for peer review, and comments and recommendations relayed to authors through the editors. Instructions on formatting for the journal can be found here: http://dgsjournal.org/information-for-authors/
All contributions should be submitted no later than: 21st July 2013
The Politics of Resilience and Recovery in Mental Health Care
Studies in Social Justice Vol 6, No 1 (2012): The Politics of Resilience and Recovery in Mental Health Care
Guest Editors: Jijian Voronka and Alison Howell
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Politics of Resilience and Recovery in Mental Health Care
Jijian Voronka, Alison Howell 1-7
Uncovering Recovery: The Resistible Rise of Recovery and Resilience
David Harper, Ewen Speed
Towards a Social Justice Framework of Mental Health Recovery
Marina Morrow, Julia Weisser
Power and Participation: An Examination of the Dynamics of Mental Health Service-User Involvement in Ireland
The New Vocabulary of Resilience and the Governance of University Student Life
“Recovering our Stories”: A Small Act of Resistance
Lucy Costa, Jijian Voronka, Danielle Landry, Jenna Reid, Becky Mcfarlane, David Reville, Kathryn Church
Homelessness in the Suburbs: Engulfment in the Grotto of Poverty
Isolde Daiski, Nancy Viva Davis Halifax, Gail J. Mitchell, Andre Lyn
The Aesthetic Post-Communist Subject and the Differend of Rosia Montana
Review of Global Child Poverty and Well-Being: Measurement, Concepts, Policy and Action
Review of Becoming Biosubjects: Bodies, Systems, Technologies
Studies in Social Justice publishes articles on issues dealing with the social, cultural, economic, political, and philosophical problems associated with the struggle for social justice. This interdisciplinary journal aims to publish work that links theory to social change and the analysis of substantive issues. The journal welcomes heterodox contributions that are critical of established paradigms of inquiry.
The journal focuses on debates that move beyond conventional notions of social justice, and views social justice as a critical concept that is integral in the analysis of policy formation, rights, participation, social movements, and transformations. Social justice is analysed in the context of processes involving nationalism, social and public policy, globalization, diasporas, culture, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, welfare, poverty, war, and other social phenomena. It endeavours to cover questions and debates ranging from governance to democracy, sustainable environments, and human rights, and to introduce new work on pressing issues of social justice throughout the world.
Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in Global Perspective
Call for Papers
Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in Global Perspective
Glasgow, UK, 9-10 May 2013 | Submissions deadline: 31 January 2013
Despite the popularity of the history of psychiatry, and twentieth-century psychiatry in particular, little attention has been paid to the history of deinstitutionalisation. Much of the research remains focused on psychiatric hospitals, although the proliferation of institutional forms of mental health care was among the key transformations in 20th-century psychiatry. This conference seeks to redress this imbalance in the historiography of psychiatry by addressing the broader historical context of deinstitutionalisation and how psychiatry and understandings of mental illness changed as a result.
The conference welcomes paper proposals from a broad range of disciplines, such as history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry. It aims to gather scholars who are working on different national contexts or who adopt a transnational or comparative perspective.
Issues that could be addressed might include, but are not limited to:
Types and characteristics of the mental health care institutions conceived and implemented after the Second World War as alternatives to the psychiatric hospital (e.g. day care centres and out-patient services).
Theoretical models and therapeutic practices of open mental health care services: the strands of biopsychiatry, psychoanalysis and social psychiatry.
Agents of reform: psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals; scientists, such as sociologists and anthropologists; the state; international organisations; contest movements, voluntary and patient groups.
Boundaries and interplay between different professionals in community mental health care, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and nurses.
Influences, parallels and variances among different paradigms of extra-mural mental health services; international exchanges and the interaction between local and global practices and thinking; the development of international organisations and standards; the impact of politics, ideology and international relations.
The patient experience of desintitutionalisation and of its aftermath and impacts.
Graduate and Postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to submit papers on research in-progress or recently completed studies.
The conference is organised by Despo Kritsotaki, Matthew Smith, Jim Mills and Erin Lux, and is hosted by the University of Strathclyde and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (http://www.gcu.ac.uk/cshhh/).
Place: Glasgow, UK
Dates: 9-10 May 2013
Working language of the conference: English
Please submit a paper abstract (300 words) and a short CV to:
Submissions deadline: 31 January 2013
Notification of Acceptance: February 2013
Please address all inquiries to:
Financial support may be available, depending on need and the success of funding bids for the conference.
Mad People's History Group and Information Session
Would you like to study Mad People's History?
CAPS Oor Mad History are forming a group of up to 10 people with lived experience of mental health issues to follow the online course, Mad People's History, offered by Ryerson University, Toronto. It's a fantastic course, which places lived experience at the centre of the curriculum.
The group will meet from January - April 2013 to look at the course materials and discuss issues raised. We'll also be looking to use the Canadian course as inspiration to develop a Scottish course delivered at a Lothian university.
If you have lived experience of mental health issues and would like to find out more please get in touch, or come along to our information session:
When: Thursday 29 November 2012, 6pm - 7pm
Where: CAPS (The Consultation and Advocacy Promotion Service) office, 5 Cadzow Place, Edinburgh, EH75SN.
Please tell us you're coming by contacting Kirsten at CAPS on 0131 538 7177 or email:
Attached is a flyer about the information session. Please distribute to anyone you think may be interested
Many thanks and look forward to working with you on this exciting project.
Community History Worker
Oor Mad History
5 Cadzow Place
Tel: 0131 538 7177
Fax: 0131 538 7215
website: www.capsadvocacy.or g<http://www.capsadvocacy.org>