Asylum Magazine (Volume 24 No 3) Autumn 2017

We hope you will find every bit of this edition interesting, but perhaps we should begin with some comments on the lead article. This concerns the remarkable artist, Bryan Charnley. Bryan suffered with mental health problems for many years, was diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia, decided to stop taking his meds, and finally took his own life.

The article includes images and writings he produced while he stopped his meds and descended into his own nightmare world. Although some readers might find the story distressing, we have included it as the main feature because it raises a number of very difficult questions: for example, about people’s rights to go mad, to take meds, or not take meds, and the right to pursue a dangerous path which might end in suicide.

Some may read Bryan Charnley’s story as a warning about what happens when you stop taking your medication; others might read it as a unique existential portrait of a fractured mind; others as a sad indictment of a society which offers precious little support for people who decide to come off their meds.

Bryan’s story reminds us of the Antonin Artaud piece we featured in Asylum 4.1 back in 1989 – ‘Van Gogh: The man suicided by society’. Co-authored by the artist’s twin-brother, this article offers no easy answers, and we make no judgments, leaving it up to readers to make up their own minds.

As always, we welcome readers’ thoughts and reflections on the important issues raised by this article. On a lighter note, we would like to say a big thank you to all those who contributed to the success of June’s Asylum conference in Manchester – to everyone who participated, but of course especially to those who helped with all the organising. Special thanks must go to Ian Parker and Helen Spandler of the Asylum collective for their commitment to the project in the face of so many difficulties, and Alex Dunedin from the Ragged University for fundraising and hosting our superb evening celebration.

We’d also like to thank Di English and others at PCCS books for dealing with bookings and general liaison; the many helpers on the day (too many to list!); and those who donated to our crowdfunding campaign. We know that some of the presentations sparked a lot of debate and we very much welcome further discussion in the pages of the magazine. We hope to produce a special issue soon featuring some of the contributions and reflections.


Download Volume 24 No 3



  • Editorial
  • Attack of the Acronyms Rachel Rowan Olive
  • Bryan Charnley: Art and the expression of schizophrenia James Charnley & Nick Bohannon
  • Democratic Therapeutic Communities in the 21st Century Rex Haigh & Jan Lees
  • Life in 3D It Snipped My heart
  • Beaten with a Carrot Ronda E. Richardson
  • How Mental Health Stigma Impacts on Physical Health Oliver Swingler
  • I Am Your Self-Hate Erin Mueller
  • Body For Rent Megan Tyler
  • Mark Twain: Concerning the Interview
  • Book Review: Dolly Sen’s Manual of Psychiatric Disorder Helen Spandler
  • Pathologise This Rachel Rowan Olive
  • Loonies Fest: Creating healing lunacy
  • Still Alone in Her Voices Sean Burn
  • Film Review Mad To Be Normal Adrian Chapman
  • All You Do Is Write Reports It Snipped My Heart
  • News and Reports
  • Cheerio Bob Dylan!