Mental Patients' Association
Organization profile published 1976
Publisher:  Vancouver Mental Patients' Association, Vancouver, Canada
Year Published:  1976
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX109

An alternative community organization dedicated to providing choices and power to ex-mental patients.

The Vancouver Mental Patients' Association (MPA) is an alternative community organization dedicated to providing choices and power to ex-mental patients and to setting up a variety of situations based upon the philosophy of self-help and self-government. Listed below is some literature published by this organization.

1) The Practical Application of Power Reversal and Self-Help - a New Concept of Mental Health in the Community - submitted to the 8th Banff international conference on behaviour modification - March 21/76. 37 pages - not yet copyrighted or published - write for further details.
This working paper charts the birth and experience of the Vancouver group. In 1971, a handful of ex-patients met together and determined that any serious attempt at providing genuine help and understanding for today's mental patient would necessarily involve the construction of an alternative mutual support system reaching beyond the realm of professional psychiatric services. MPA established as its primary goal that of both changing the behaviour of patients with respect to the community and the behaviour of the community with respect to the patient. The association has sought to achieve this goal by a self-help technique which enables the patient to develop these necessary social skills in environments which are supportive.
Simultaneously, MPA has committed itself to educating the public concerning those forces in the psychiatric services, and in society in general, which alienate the mental patient. The paper indicates that, in spite of its struggles, the association has grown and has gained prominence as a credible alternative among community workers, professionals, and government, civil and legal organizations. The association successfully maintains five halfway houses in Vancouver, a central office, a drop-in centre, and a research and crafts department. MPA is committed to a model of participatory democracy among its members.

2) Anti-Psychiatry Bibliography and Resource Guide, MPA Research Section, by Kathy Frank, 64 pages. Write for further information.

This guide contains over 375 listings of literature, films and tapes. The bibliography is divided into chapters which deal with psychiatry's relationship to politics, race, sexuality, professionalism and alternatives to institutionalization. Included is a short history of the anti-psychiatry movement in Britain and the radical therapy movement in America. Reference is also made to such noted authors as R.D. Laing and Thomas Szaz.

3) In a Nutshell, vol.4/no. 2. May 1976. 20 pages, 25c copy.

This MPA newsletter servies the dual purpose of communicating with MPA members and with 2,000 subscribers world-wide. It functions as an ongoing forum for new ideas, project proposals and critical analyses of mental health services. The May issue features an article on professional drug abuse in the treatment of "hyperactive children" as well as a study of the effect of electroshock treatment upon the human brain. In addition to other shorter articles, there is an art and photography section as well as personal poems and letters and other information relevant to MPA members.

4) Two other MPA publications that are now available include MADNESS UNMASKED, an anthology of creative writing and illustrations done by ex-mental patients, and WOMEN LOOK AT PSYCHIATRY, a response to the dearth of critical material by women on the subject of psychiatry and the oppression of women.

This abstract was published in the Connexions Digest in 1976.

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