Asylum Magazine (Volume 25 No 1) Spring 2018

Well, it’s a busy time in mental health policy. Last year, PM Theresa May said she intended to abolish the Mental Health Act – on libertarian grounds. Many activists have been campaigning for this for years. Under a Tory Government might this be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’? Perhaps we’ll soon find out.

The Government has launched a review of the Mental Health Act, headed up by the controversial ex President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Simon Wessely. Not the best of starts when the Government ignored a strong petition suggesting he wasn’t the best person for the job (see our film review). Tight timescales; limited service user consultation; and a Government hell bent on curtailing welfare isn’t the best context for this review. But we hope something good comes of it.

We are always keen to link the struggle for better mental health care with wider socio-political issues, so we are pleased to include an article about the #metoo campaign. We were less pleased to receive a letter from a ‘disillusioned Asylum subscriber’. On the plus side, we’ve seen a few small victories for common sense:

The high court upheld the view that PIP assessments discriminate against people with mental health problems; and the Bronx District Attorney found that the police killing of Deborah Danner, an elderly black woman experiencing psychosis, was unlawful. Black and ‘mentally ill’ lives do matter: Jeffrey Brooks makes a heartfelt and controversial (at least for Asylum) plea in this issue.

Whatever happens to the Mental Health Act – and we very much welcome readers’ views on this – we need ways of providing support and protection (not indignity and brutality) to those of us suffering mental distress. In the meantime, we asked our survivor-reporter ‘Connie Sachs’ to give us an insider view on the machinations of policy consultation. In doing so, she keeps up a time-honoured tradition of poking gentle fun at the powerful.

Helen Spandler


Download Volume 25 No 1



  • Editorial
  • Big Farmer is Watching You – Connie Sachs
  • “Bigger Pills to Swallow” – Jeffrey Brooks
  • If it’s #MeToo, it can’t be #JustThem – Deborah A. Lee
  • Letter to the Editor A disillusioned subscriber
  • Spreading the Word – 8 Years for HVN Greece – Members of HVN Greece
  • Creative Writing Poetry – Andrew Jackson
  • Creative Writing Prose – Verity Dawn Hill
  • Outside or Inside: Two views on survivor culture – William Park & Andrew Roberts
  • The Other Side of Insanity – Ash E. Rah
  • UNREST – film review – Terry Burke
  • Creative Identities in the Spirit of Philip Morgan – Andrew Roberts
  • Working to Recovery – Ben Gray
  • 5 Fun Things to Do With Used Tampons – Rachel Rowan Olive
  • News and reports
  • Directory: Mental Health Campaigning and Discussion Groups