Asylum is a quarterly produced radical mental health magazine. We’ve been going for 34 years and never has 3 months seemed like such a short time.
We have struggled to keep up with rapid developments in the world of mental health and the broader global, political and environmental situation. We couldn’t have predicted that something would happen to push CoVid off the front pages, but then Black Lives Matters (BLM) reignited. We have tried to do justice to the movement by including in this issue several feature articles that speak to the link between BLM and mental health struggles. For example, Raza Griffiths’ opening article about the impact of #BLM on challenging racism in mental health services; an interview with the artist Hannah Dawn Henderson; and a review of a new book about racism and American psychiatry.
We always try to show solidarity with wider progressive social movements and make links with the struggle for Mad people’s rights. Recently, that has included the struggle for environmental justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, especially Trans people’s rights (in the context of a Trans moral panic whipped up by the mainstream media), and the struggle against sexual violence. For example, in this issue, Abraham Aamidor makes a case for a #metoo movement for victims of psychiatric abuse. We also include a review of a new book about Disability Activism, connecting mental health and disability politics. We are concerned too about the impact of a punitive welfare system and the lack of appropriate support for people with mental health needs. This issue also includes a Dawn Allen’s heart-breaking piece about her brother’s suicide. We fear there will be a rise in suicides of people who are struggling, in an already underfunded and inadequate mental health system, with their mental health needs at this difficult time.
We hope that the rise of progressive social movements will lead to some positive change, in the mental health field as well as in the broader politics. In the meantime, we always try to give space for oppressed and marginalised people, those whose voices are rarely heard in society, especially mental health users and survivors, including those incarcerated in institutions. Tempering the dire political situation with humour, as well as resistance, we include a few cartoons and stories from the frontline. There have been a couple of recent changes in the editorial group which pulls Asylum magazine together. Many thanks to our outgoing poetry editor and copy editor, William Park, for his careful stewarding of our creative writing output and for his eagle eye. Welcome to Nathan Filer, whom we look forward to working with on future issues.
The National Survivor User Network (www. nsun.org.uk) was recently awarded funding through the National Lottery’s Community Fund to help get mental health resources to those who might be digitally excluded or isolated. We are delighted that NSUN decided to fund an extra print run of Asylum magazine to distribute to folk who may not otherwise be able to access it. We are excited to be working with NSUN, in partnership with WISH (www.womenatwish.org.uk) and Books Beyond Bars (www.beyond-bars.org), to deliver copies to women and LGBTQIA+ folk on forensic wards or in prison. We’d like to thank all these organisations for working with us.
Beyond the Pale – Raza Griffiths *** SAMPLE ARTICLE ***
Asylum Interview with Hannah Dawn Henderson
Book Review: Administrations of Lunacy – Peter Barham
Brother in My Arms – Dawn Allen
Finding Hope After Suicide – Athena Milios
Healing in Harmful Systems – Samantha Hartley
Psychiatric Case Notes – Max Peake
Not in Our City, Not in Our Name – Mick McKeown & Greg Dropkin
Cartoons – Andrew Theobald
Psychotic and Sectioned in Belgium – Shonchi
Cindy Finds Her Voice – Lorena Snyder
Poem: To Martin Luther King – for Neal Hall in Kolkata – Bashabi Fraser
A #MeToo Movement for Victims of Psychiatric Abuse? – Abraham Aamidor
Book Review: The Routledge Handbook of Disability Activism – Lisa Davies
“Someone for Everyone?” – Ashley Formby *** SAMPLE ARTICLE ***
Anxiety Fragrance – Mira Nehlawi
Poems: Anosognosia – Henry Bladon
“Seniors” Rant – Don Weitz
An Illustrated Mind – Kathryn Watson *** SAMPLE ARTICLE ***
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