Asylum Magazine (Volume 28, No3) Autumn 2021

Twenty years ago eight residents of a faith-based asylum in Erwadi, southern India, died in a horrific fire.

Our autumn issue opens with a collaborative piece remembering Erwadi and reflecting on its aftermath. Further insight into psychiatry in India is provided by Sneha R, who bemoans psychiatrists’ egos and their focus on functionality. In this issue Stephen McCrystal reflects on his experience, following a relationship breakdown, of ‘walking on the the wild side of hardcore bipolar’. We have an article by Sarafin, author of the Asylum Squad comics books, on what it’s like to live in an asylum, and a piece by an American anthropologist and poet, Joséphine Daniels, on her 2020 research project on experiences of psychiatric institutions. In the first of a new series, Stephen McKenna Lawson and Anne E Watmough exchange images and text (from both sides of the patient/professional divide) about their experience of mental health services. And, in another piece attesting to the power of art to foster conversation, Giulia Busetti reports on a new art project developed in the heart of the Italian democratic psychiatry movement.

Liam Kirk has written a follow-up to his article about trying to come off anti-psychotic medication during the RADAR trial, which we published in our Spring issue. Jack Lack reflects on ten moments of diagnosis and Athena Milios on ten lessons learned in mental health recovery. This issue also includes a piece by Clare Griffin on experiences of self-harm, and flash fiction by C Pearson. We continue our ‘hidden gems’ series with a brief review of 55 Steps, a film based on a real case about the right to refuse psychiatric medication. Patrick Wood has contributed more of his powerful images and, as usual, this issue includes a selection of poetry and two book reviews.

In addition to our more usual submissions (articles, poems, illustrations, flash fiction), we are always on the look out for books to review, hidden gems, and examples of new formats (such as the converation in this issue). We always welcome any help with marketing Asylum, and – for inspiration! – end this issue with J. Hamilton’s tale of guerrilla merchandising. Get in touch if you fancy trying something like this!


Contents

Erwadi: A tragedy and its aftermath – Cynthia Stephen, J. Sanjay Kumar and Sonia Soans ***Sample article***
Normal Is – Normal Does – Steven McCrystal
What it’s like to live in an Asylum – Sarafin
Psychiatric Justice? What Justice? – Liam Kirk
Ten Moments of Diagnosis – Jack Lack
Psychiatric Withdrawal: A Pipedream? – Sneha R
Flash fiction – The Mattress – C. Pearson
Raving Mad: A research project – Joséphine Daniels
This is Really Happening – Stephen McKenna Lawson and Anne E Watmough ***Sample article***
Lessons Learned in Mental Health Recovery – Athena Milios
Sanguine – Clare Griffin
Sanity, Madness and the Family, Revisited – Jeremy Spandler
Hidden Gem – 55 Steps
News – Update: Stop SIM Campaign
An intangible breath of life – Giulia Busetti
Book review – The Illusion of Evidence Based Medicine – Tom Todd
My Name is Patrick Wood
Poetry
A Tale of Guerrilla Merchandising – J. Hamilton ***Sample article***


Sample articles

Erwadi: A tragedy and its aftermath – Cynthia Stephen, J. Sanjay Kumar and Sonia Soans
This is Really Happening – Stephen McKenna Lawson and Anne E Watmough
A Tale of Guerrilla Merchandising – J. Hamilton


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