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Mad Pride: What Is Canada Doing?

February 1, 2012

I'm blessed.

I’m Mad and I’m proud.  Maybe some of you are, too.   I’d define Mad Pride as an international movement which celebrates the achievements and experiences of those who acknowledge their mental, spiritual, emotional, cognitive, psychological and behavioural Otherness.   We’re not about diagnoses or psychiatry: some of us are against these things, while some are not.  Fundamentally, it’s up to individuals to find themselves and represent.  Some of us Pridesters are very political, while others have adopted the badge of “Mad” merely in defiance of social convention.  It’s all cool, it’s all mulligatawny.  Like Queer, Mad means many things to many people.

Now, while Mad Pride is international in scope, it originated in Toronto.  So you’d think that we Canadians would be the be-all and end-all of the movement, right?  Er, perhaps not.  And some of us want to know why. Read more…


Project for Positive Change in Mental Health Care in Grey and Bruce

January 27, 2012

Friends, neighbours and colleagues,

Fellow mental health advocate Melanie Knapp and I are working on a Project for Positive Change in Mental Health Care in Grey and Bruce. We aim to inform people of the nature and context of mental health service delivery in the region – particularly at GBHS – and to improve things.

GBHS is a Schedule 1 facility: a hospital with both an outpatient psychiatric ward and an inpatient psych ICU (including lockdown for people in crisis).  Over the years, Mel and I have heard many of you – service users and allies alike – express concerns over some of the things you have encountered there.  These range from such details as the unavailability of toiletries for emergency patients, to systemic issues like failure to notify the Provincially mandated rights advisor, to the attitudes and institutional culture of the place as a whole. Read more…

I’m Back, and Crunchin’ Numbers

January 20, 2012

It’s good to be back.  Since I’ve been away, ironically, I’ve started getting attention from the blogosphere and obtaining subscribers.  Perhaps going on hiatus was the best thing for me.  I certainly feel refreshed, and glad to put a few personal issues behind me.  At any rate, all that will be the topic of a future post.

For now, I want to share some stark, cold numbers with you. Oh, sit down, will you?  It’s not that bad!  I want to show my fellow Ontarians — and anyone unfamiliar with our social services — what it means in absolute terms to both work and receive Ontario Disability Support Program payments.

He'll guard my cash! GRRR! No?

Read more…

MAD PRIDE Flag Campaign, and Some Ideas

November 17, 2011

OK!  Here it is!  Sarafin has put up your interactive, collaborative site for designing the Mad Pride flag.

© 2011 Sarah Griffin

Hit it!  Mad Pride Flag Design Campaign.  It’s going to have PRIDE of place on the Blogroll! Read more…

The Breakdown Continues

November 16, 2011

For five days I have been holed up in my apartment, incapable of facing the outside world. And in an odd twist, my social anxiety doesn’t apply so much to strangers as to my friends. How effed up is that? I can go to the corner store and buy some overpriced tomatoes, communicating with the clerk with only minor discomfort, yet I am no longer capable of even making eye contact with people I know and love.  What’s up with that? Read more…

Designing the Mad Pride Flag

November 14, 2011

Can you believe it?  The Mad community does not have its own flag!

Here’s comic artist and survivor extraordinaire Sarafin‘s proposal, prepared in advance of Toronto’s Mad Pride 2012.  Let’s take a closer look!

© 2011 Sarah Griffin

Read more…

Kandinsky: The Best of Us Aren’t Crazy

November 14, 2011

I vowed tacitly to never discuss the connections between mental illness and creativity.  That whole mad genius trope (rather, cliché).  But I’m in, shall we say, a rather blue period.  My productivity has ground to a halt, and what little literary skill I possess is in suspension.

Nonetheless, holed up in my apartment for two days and incapable of speaking to people — trapped basically in my own head — I can at least string a few words together (thank goodness) on my favourite subject, painting, and in so doing address a subject I should have treated long ago. Read more…