Asylum Magazine (Volume 19 No 2) Summer 2012

Welcome to this issue of Asylum magazine. There are lots of highlights but you may be particularly moved by our featured piece – Stephen R Killeen’s chilling call for ‘mad independence’. Responding to readers’ feedback, we are trying to keep articles shorter. We are also covering more ‘news’ stories. Please do give us any feedback on this. And send us other news items you think we should cover.

With the imminent demise of Open Mind, the onus is increasingly on us to make sure we maintain our regular and critical commentary on mental health issues. In the coming years, this task perhaps will be more urgent than ever.

At the same time as the Coalition Government is stressing their vision of ‘involving patients’ in services and clinical research trials, they are presiding over cuts to mental health services and welfare benefits which are leaving both staff and clients demoralised.

Dina, one of our editorial collective members, recently asked the Director of the Patient Engagement in Research Programme at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) how this tension could be reconciled. He had little answer. On a more (mad) positive side, a small group of academics and service users recently visited some ‘mad identified’ and ‘mad positive’ activists and scholars in Toronto, Canada.

We hope to report on these events and include some articles by, and about, some of the inspirational groups and organisations we met there (such as Toronto Mad Pride, ‘Voices from the Streets’ and the Mad Students Society). We may even devote a special issue to these developments.

Watch this space! As promised, our next edition should be the special issue on anti-capitalism and mental health. Please contact us if you think we should be covering other special topics. Perhaps you’d like to help us put an issue together. Also check out our updated website and thanks again to Pauline Whelan for all her efforts behind the scenes.

Helen Spandler On behalf of the ASYLUM collective


Download Volume 19 No 2



  • Editorial. Helen Spandler
  • Survivor History: Survivors Speak Out by Peter Campbell pp 4-5
  • Poem. The Mental Marching Band by Peter Campbell
  • William Neville Bingley (1950-2011). Lawyer, academic and charity organizer. An appreciation by Mick McKeown p. 6
  • US Mental Health Service Users’ Alternatives Conference by Will Hall p.7
  • The Day I Met Ken Kesey by Scott Michael p.8
  • Rachel Perkins and Hairdressing by Sandra Smith p.8
  • ReVision by Jackie Patiniotis pp 9-10
  • Declaration of Mad Independence by Stephen R Killeen pp 10-11
  • Signifier Surfing by Alastair Kemp pp 12
  • Creative writing section: The Itch by Phil Thomas
  • Phil Thomas: in the Writers Chair
  • Czech Republic must stop caging human beings, by The European Network of (Ex-)
  • Users and Survivors of Psychiatry p. 16
  • Why do doctors still prescribe neuroleptics? by Bruce G Charlton MD p. 18
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy on trial by Fred Ruddick p.19
  • News – Comments – Findings p. 22 – 27
  • Book review: The Dark Threads: A Psychiatric Survivor’s Story by Jean Davison. Reviewed by Pauline Whelan p.27
  • Drawn from distress to recovery: a call for ‘graphic memoirs’ p.28
  • UK judgement on patient suicides – a victory for human rights? by Helen Spandler and Dina Poursanidou p.29
  • Dina’s story: Why I absconded from an acute mental ward p.30