News

Asylum Conference: Action and Reaction

This one day conference will be held at the University of Manchester on Wednesday 28 June 2017.  It will be an all-day, low-cost conference (to cover refreshments on the day), with a lower rate for subscribers to Asylum Magazine.

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Mad Studies: new issue of the journal Intersectionalities

Mad Studies is the focus of the latest issue of Intersectionalities: A Global Journal of Social Work Analysis, Research, Polity, and Practice.  All articles are open access.

View the issue here.


Healing the rifts between mental health workers and psychiatric survivors

Jan Wallcraft and other survivors have made a plea for Truth and Reconciliation in relation to psychiatry.  Such initiatives have been developed in relation some of the world’s worst human rights abuses such as Apartheid South Africa. Could this work in such a contested field as psychiatry?  Helen Spandler considers the issues.

Read her blog posting HERE


ISPS Conference - deadline for abstracts is approaching!

Interested in Psychosis?  Interested in real change for the better?   The ISPS 2017 conference in Liverpool, UK is for you, whatever your discipline and if you are a service use or carer.   The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis conferences have an outstanding reputation for vibrancy, conviviality, breadth of presentations and social events.

Submissions:   Submit a paper, poster, symposium or workshop before December 1st.  Please go to www.isps2017uk.org

Registration:   We anticipate a full house, so why not make an early bird registration. Please go to www.isps2017uk.org

Please pass this message on further to your friends and colleagues.  See you in Liverpool.


Social Suffering in an Era of Resilience: Call for papers

The seventh international conference on The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization once again explores the nature of contemporary malaises, diseases, illnesses and syndromes in their relation to cultural pathologies of the social body. Usually these conditions –depression, anxiety, suicide & self-harm, disorders of consumption, stress-related illness, to name just a few- are interpreted clinically in terms of individualized symptoms and framed in demographic and epidemiological profiles. They are represented and responded to discretely, as though for the most part unrelated to each other; each having their own professional discourses of etiology, diagnostics, therapeutics, as well as their task forces developing health strategy and policy recommendations and interventions. However, these diseases also have a social and cultural profile, one that transcends the particularity of their symptomology and their discrete etiologies. These pathologies are diseases related to disorders of the collective of contemporary society.

Multi-disciplinary in approach, the conference addresses questions of how these conditions are manifest at the level of individual bodies and minds, as well as how the ‘bodies politic’ are related to the hegemony of reductive biomedical and psychologistic perspectives. Rejecting such a reductive diagnosis of contemporary problems of health and well-being, the central research thesis guiding the conference is that contemporary epidemics are to be analysed in the light of individual and collective experiences of profound and drastic social changes and cultural shifts. More specifically – but not exclusively – this conference will focus on the social dynamics of suffering.

In times where society is neglected & disparaged and individual psychological resilience is advocated & promoted as substitute and panacea we want to focus on understanding how social and cultural conditions moderate the experience of suffering -whether collective suffering as a result of war, natural catastrophes or economic crises, or individual suffering, insofar as it has primarily societal causes.

  • Is the focus on resilience adequate to the moral-political questions raised by Europe’s so called migration & refugee crisis? Could the concept of resonance offer a better understanding of suffering?
  • Due to the transformation of work and the psychosocial costs associated with these changes, as well as the increasing tendencies towards social exclusion and social inequality (including inequities linked to gender), social suffering has become a characteristic & general experience of industrialized nations as well. The notion of social suffering highlights the fact that the suffering in question is caused by structural conditions and remains embedded in them.
  • Psychologization of suffering.Is the notion of “social pathologies” as well as the ongoing question of the diagnostic potential of the social sciences already part of a neglect of society itself and playing into the hands of psychology? What is the role of therapy culture in this development?
  • Common to all contributions to the field of social pathologies is both the interpretation of social suffering as an increasing effect of neoliberal capitalist socialization and its determination as a theoretical reference point for social critique. Whilst attending to the particular ways in which individuals struggle to make ‘the problem of suffering’ productive for thought and action, it also works to understand how, through to the level of collective experience, this contributes to wider dynamics of social change. Is, again, the concept of resonance an adequate starting point.

The conference invites papers offering analyses, discussions and perspectives of the overall theme (and related themes) from faculty, students and researchers in fields of psychiatry, philosophy, sociology, social theory, psychology, anthropology etc.

Deadline for abstracts: 23 December 2016 – to socialpathologies2017@gmx.de

FURTHER DETAILS


Transverse Journal – call for papers on ‘Madness’

The panoply of ‘illnesses’ and ‘conditions’ that have historically been uncritically subsumed under the vastly opaque and ambiguous name of ‘madness’ include: Schizophrenia, paranoia, anxiety neurosis, hysteria, and more recently, bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder, dementia, etc.

Beyond the psychiatric ward and analyst’s couch, madness also manifests itself in quotidian experiences and routines—from a fleeting moment of maddening obsessive compulsion to the throes of intoxicating lust.

There is an obsession today with mental wellness and the reduction of mindfulness to an ethics of self-care ends up, more often than not, stimulating and overly dramatizing the most mundane experiences of dissonance and cognitive distress.

Pharmaceutical companies exploit this trend by focusing on symptoms rather than root causes, ultimately leaving patients in a state of constant crisis without resolution. This propagates a blurring between everyday mental stress and psychiatric disorders, so that neither group’s specific needs are addressed or understood.

Transverse Issue 16 seeks to address madness in all its forms and categories and to shed light on the paradoxical tendency of misdiagnosing and compartmentalizing mental illnesses while simultaneously overvaluing and exaggerating everyday anxieties.

Further details


Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness

Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness reveals the human side of mental illness. In this remarkable collection of interviews and essays, therapist, Madness Radio host, and schizophrenia survivor Will Hall asks, “What does it mean to be called crazy in a crazy world?”

More than 60 voices of psychiatric patients, scientists, journalists, doctors, activists, and artists create a vital new conversation about empowering the human spirit. Outside Mental Health invites us to rethink what we know about bipolar, psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, medications, and mental illness in society.

Find out more.


Icarus Project – Language and Identity Survey

How we talk about ourselves matters. Whether we choose to name our emotions and experiences using the language of mental health professionals, academics, faith communities, healers, physicians, or others reflects how we see ourselves and view the world. There are many ways in which people wind up receiving mental health treatments/interventions. This can include psychotherapy and hospitals but for many of us may also come from interactions with pastors, physicians, school officials, coaches, all of whom may have given us different language to describe our experiences. This survey will provide information for an upcoming Icarus Mad Maps guide for people who want to explore their relationship to their emotions and coping strategies.

This survey is an exploration of our identities, the language that we use for ourselves, and why that language matters. You can answer all questions or only one. You can list your name or pen name and be listed as a contributor or you can remain anonymous. For art and personal stories contributions e-mailicarusstories@gmail.com

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Mad and Queer Studies: Interconnections and Tensions

From the Mad Studies Network: A guest blog post by Helen Spandler and Meg-John Barker

With the recent emergence of Mad Studies we thought it timely to explore some connections with Queer studies – another critical field of enquiry.  We wanted to examine their similarities and differences; any points of tension; and what each could learn from the other.

Helen has been part of the recent emergence of Mad Studies in the UK and has a long standing interest in critical approaches to gender and sexuality. Meg-John has recently written a book about queer theory as part of the ‘introducing…’ series of Icon press comic books, and has a long standing interest in critical approaches to mental health.  This piece arose out of discussions between ourselves on this subject.

Read the blog.


 From Mental Illness to a Social Model of Madness and Distress

In 2010, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published the findings of a national project exploring the views of mental services users/survivors and disabled people about how they felt mental health issues were understood in society and how they themselves understood them,Towards a Social Model of Madness and Distress?. This highlighted that most participants felt that a medical model dominated both public and professional thinking and that this was stigmatising and unhelpful and that further discussions about more social approaches to mental health were needed. The Foundation supported a second stage project to make possible such discussions; to gain the views of a wider range of mental health service users/survivors and, to find our more about how more social understandings of mental health might be taken forward. This Shaping Our Lives report documents its findings

DOWNLOAD HERE


Searching for a Rose Garden

This international collection of mad studies writings by mad activists, academics and researchers showgrounds new thinking and innovative practice in survivor-led interpretations of and responses to mental distress. Searching for a Rose Garden shifts the gaze away from criticising and challenging psychiatry towards ground breaking concepts for progressive research and practice. The contributions in these pages emerge from the experiential knowledge of the writers and offer new understandings of the potential of first-person knowledge and survivor-leadership.

Find out more


After the Asylum

The shift from institutional to community mental health was among the most significant social changes of the late 20th century. Between 1965 and 1980 nearly 50,000 beds were closed in residential psychiatric facilities across Canada. De-institutionalization profoundly changed the lives of former patients and those who worked with them, impacting the larger economy, public health and social planning, and challenging ideas of individual rights and capabilities.

The first national project of its kind, After the Asylum presents this complex and often difficult history, making clear its continuing relevance. We examine early mental health initiatives, we consider how therapeutic and professional contours of care were reshaped, and we explore new consumer / user networks and cultures that emerged. Many of the exhibits speak to the continuing social and economic marginalization of those deemed mentally ill, whose lives are often poignant testaments to the limits of a reconstituted mental health system.

The After the Asylum project web pages have been co-created by academic scholars, community partners, students, activists, and people whose lives have intersected with de-institutionalization in various ways. Gathering this history and making it public has been a powerful and often hopeful process, reminding us that we must constantly push the boundaries of what is considered possible in the mental health world.

Visit the site.


ISPS 2017

Interested in Psychosis?  Interested in real change for the better?   The ISPS 2017 conference in Liverpool, UK is for you, whatever your discipline and if you are a service use or carer.   The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis conferences have an outstanding reputation for vibrancy, conviviality, breadth of presentations and social events.

Submissions:   Submit a paper, poster, symposium or workshop before December 1st.  Please go to www.isps2017uk.org

Registration:   We anticipate a full house, so why not make an early bird registration. Please go to www.isps2017uk.org

Please pass this message on further to your friends and colleagues.  See you in Liverpool.

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News from Soteria Bradford

After many years of development, Soteria Bradford has successfully gone on to support five people and their families who are experiencing a crisis.

Read an update on the project.


Recovery in the Bin Manifesto

RitB is a User Led group for Psychiatric Survivors and Supporters who are fed up with the way colonised ‘recovery’ is being used to discipline and control those who are trying to find a place in the world, to live as they wish, while trying to deal with the very real mental distress they encounter on a daily basis. They believe in human rights and social and economic justice!

Read the manifesto


Surviving Work Survey

Not much is known about what is happening to wages, working conditions and clinical practice in the mental health sector. This survey aims to build a map of the trends in working conditions for mental health workers in the UK. 

Find out more and complete the survey.


This year we are celebrating 30 years of Asylum magazine! We are planning a special themed issue:

Thirty Years of Asylum: What’s changed in mental health?

We welcome contributions from our readers: service users/survivors; friends, allies, workers, professionals, academics etc.

Usual format, up to 1,500 words (preferably with b/w images, but not essential).
Deadline: early April

Bethlem oral history and photography project

We’re pleased to announce that the Bethlem Archives & Museum will be starting a new oral history and photography project, focused on the twentieth century hospital at Monks Orchard, and funded by a Wellcome Trust People Award scheme. The modern Bethlem site, opened in 1930, has long been overshadowed by interest in Victorian ‘Bedlam’. Yet there is much we can learn from the red-brick buildings, described by Bethlem’s chaplain E.G. O’Donoghue in the 1920s as ‘splendid mansions rising in the woods’.1 While one of these original ‘mansions’ – the Art Deco administration building – is converted into the new Museum of the Mind, we will be exploring the history of Bethlem and its place in twentieth-century mental health care. As the fabric of the building is peeled back, layer by layer, revealing architectural changes over the decades, new photography will bring the building to life, revealing the traces of those who have used it over the years. A new monthly series on the blog will provide regular updates on the project. This will also help to expand the archive collection and displays by adding personal reflections (like those of O’Donoghue) to the archive. At present, much of this sort of material in our records comes from the Victorian hospital (now the Imperial War Museum), in the form of letters, diaries, photographs, personal papers, concert programmes and more. Yet we have very little contextual material about the present site, and the records are primarily administrative. We know from plans, for instance, that there was originally an entertainment hall behind the administration building. But we have no notes or ephemera on the plays, lectures and concerts that were undoubtedly performed. In this project, then, we will be exploring the history of people who have used the site, whether as staff, patients, visitors or local residents. Would you be interested in being interviewed about your memories of twentieth-century Bethlem? Whether you worked here decades ago (or, indeed, still do), used to sing in the chapel as a child, or have used the services in the past, we would like to hear from you. If you would be interested in getting involved in the Mansions in the Orchard project, please contact Sarah Chaney, Project Co-ordinator, on sarah.chaney@slam.nhs.uk. If possible, let us know in a few sentences what your connection with the hospital was.

Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX Website: www.bethlemheritage.org.uk Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9.30am – 4.30pm and selected Saturdays – see website for dates. Archives by appointment only. Follow the Bethlem blog at http://bethlemheritage.wordpresscom. Become a Facebook fan at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bethlem-Heritage/122142577804674, or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bethlemheritage.

Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology Call for papers: Critical Underpinnings of User/Survivor Research and Co-Production

Guest Editors: Jayasree Kalathil, PhD & Nev Jones, PhD(c) Editorial Assistant: Clara Humpston, M.Sc.

Over the past several decades, user/survivor leadership in research as well as academic “co-production” (understood as a more robust form of academic co-leadership and shared decision making as opposed to nominal or tokenistic participatory methods) has gained strong traction in the areas of mental health services research, program evaluation, policy reform and, to a lesser extent, philosophy and cultural theory. In spite of these advances, the theoretical assumptions and implications involved in such projects remain largely underdeveloped and critically un-interrogated. Likewise, critiques of user/survivor involvement and leadership rarely make their way into peer-reviewed publications, for the most part enduring in the space of informal conversations and behind-the-scenes decision-making. Certain areas of academic scholarship, including the medical humanities and philosophy of psychiatry and psychology, have similarly failed to consider the unique theoretical contributions scholars or others with lived experience might be in a position to make. Literary and philosophical analyses of others’ first person accounts, narratives or memoirs often exclude any discussion of the role or contribution of first person theory (broadly understood as the formal or informal interpretation and analysis of the sociopolitics, temporal dynamics, implications and/or rhetorical effects of first person narrative, story-telling or memoir).

The goal of the current call for papers is to solicit proposals aimed at tackling the ‘hard’ questions implicated in processes of user/survivor inclusion, exclusion and co-production. Proposals will be considered for inclusion in one or more special issues of the journalPhilosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology as well as a planned edited book tentatively targeted for Oxford University Press’ International Perspectives on Philosophy & Psychiatry series. We are soliciting proposals in English from a range of disciplines as well as from diverse positions and standpoints, including but not limited to individuals who identify as service users or survivors. We particularly encourage the submission of papers that critically appraise user/survivor research, leadership or co-produced work (again, both from peer and non-peer scholars and stakeholders).
Examples of topics of interest include (but are emphatically not limited to):
§  critical explorations of the meaning and value of ‘expertise by experience’, particularly with respect to theoretical and philosophical work
§  implications of the heterogeneity of service experiences, madness/disorder, temporal trajectories of distress and/or recovery, and identity
§  political issues involved in the marginalization and othering of user/survivors with intersecting socio-political minority identities
§  methodological and ethical considerations (including inter- and trans-disciplinarity, leadership in the humanities and basic and translational science vs. applied mental health services research
§  interrogating key terms: user involvement, co-production, control, leadership, co-leadership
§  ethical and methodological issues in relation to academic and theoretical engagement with personal narratives of madness/mental health (including autobiographies and memoirs)
§  divisions between academia, community-based engagement, policy and organizational development, and activism
Proposal details:
We are asking for proposals including a title, five key words and a focused, 500-word abstract. The special issue editors will get back to potential authors within 6 weeks of the proposal deadline. Please note that all full submissions will be subject to blinded peer review.
Proposal deadline: 15 January 2014
Please email proposals to the Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology Special Issue editorial team (pppspecialissue@gmail.com) or contact Jayasree Kalathil or Nev Jones (nev@lernetwork.org) with any questions.
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October 16th, 2013, PCCS Books Anniversary Conference

http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/blog/anniversary-conference/

Conference in Celebration of 20 Years of PCCS Books Proceeds to the Soteria Network UK October 16th 2013, 10.00am  – 4.30pm Clarendon Suites, Birmingham.

Speakers

Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool The myth that schizpohrenia is a genetic disease Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde Are the facts friendly? Person-centred therapy in an era of ‘evidence-based’ practice Jacqui Dillon, Chair of the Hearing Voices Network, England The history and work of the Hearing Voices Network – the personal is still political Stephen Joseph, Professor of Psychology, Health and Social Care, University of Nottingham The positive psychology of the person-centred approach Joanna Moncrieff, Senior Lecturer, University College London, consultant psychiatrist Mother’s little helper: The politics of consumerism and psychoative drug use Clare Shaw, Trainer, Consultant, activist and poet. I do not believe in silence: How words can change the world Lisbeth Sommerbeck, clinical psychologist, accredited specialist in psychotherapy Danish Psychological Association Rebutting criticisms of applying person-centred therapy with clients diagnosed with psychosis PCCS Books is celebrating 20 years of independent publishing this year with a one-day conference bringing together experts in their fields who share the desire for honest, democratic, equal and fully informed care for people in distress. The speakers represent the dominant themes in PCCS Books’ lists: person-centred psychology, critical psychology and psychiatry, and service-user perspectives. Of interest to service users, carers, professionals, academics, students and everyone interested in critical debate on mental health care. Fees (including lunch and refreshments): Earlybird: £65.00 before 30th August; £75.00 31st August – 14th October; Service-users:£20.00. Please note there will be an additional £10.00 administrative charge if you want your organisation to be invoiced for your place. http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/blog/anniversary-conference/