The Mad Movement Today


The Mad Movement Today – Irit Shimrat, 2013

smiling middle-aged woman with glasses and short curly hair
Irit in Vancouver, 2013.

The mad movement is busting out all over! When I became an activist, in the 1980s, the idea that mental illness is a social construct and psychiatric “treatment” is unscientific and harmful was beyond the pale.

Now, it is getting harder for Big Pharma to dominate the discussion. Grassroots support, advocacy and activist groups (see, e.g.,; investigative journalists (, and other writers, many diagnosed; human rights groups; dissident professionals; academics; and families hurt by psychiatry are speaking out. Alternatives are springing up and succeeding, and abuses are increasingly exposed.

We have a long way to go, of course. The mental illness industry is thriving; forced drugging in the community and the use of ECT are on the rise. Yet for someone who, like me, has been damaged by hospital procedures and psychiatric “medications,” it is gradually becoming easier to find a way out: people to talk to; groups to join; and unbiased information about how to get out of the system, off the drugs and back into the real world.