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SESSION 31.

Workshop. Fight Back Against the Mental Health System

Megan Oleson and Lisa Wulwik.. Mental Health Political Action Group, Vancouver

The Mental Health Political Action Group is a group comprised of people who have encountered the mental health system.  We are all people who have come together to fight back against a system that we find to be inherently oppressive.  We are a newly-formed group and our first action is the production of rights cards around areas of committal.  This is a crucial issue because many patients in hospital do not know their rights or even what it means to be committed.  We are also producing a pamphlet on how our mental health act compares to other provinces and how the mental health act interacts with our basic human rights.  We also hope to do “flying squads” into the hospital to help patients who are in need of finding advocacy.

SESSION 32.

Toward a Critical History of Madness

Geoffrey Reaume. Critical Disability Studies, York University and Co-founder, Psychiatric Survivor Archives, Toronto

Mad Markers: The Politics of Remembering Mad People’s History

How history is remembered is suffused with all kinds of variables. This can range from the availability of documentary evidence, individual and inter-generational memories, as well as whose interpretation is given greater attention and why. This paper will discuss the politics of remembrance in mad people’s history to examine what kinds of public markers exist on this topic, how these markers attempt to explain mad people’s history, and the extent to which people who have lived this history have been involved in this memorializing of their past. Public markers will include monuments, plaques, buildings, cemeteries and similar objects of physical culture by and about mad people. The point of this presentation will be to argue that the process of remembering mad people’s history is crucial to its presentation while also ensuring that this past contributes to social justice for psychiatric survivors today.

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