MSS Collective The Collective is responsible for the Advocacy efforts of MSS
The Mad Students Society Organized for and run by students who have experienced the psychiatric system Works to empower, support and mobilize students who are currently or may in the future experience the psychiatric system. We support each other, share similar experiences, learn about our history as a community Identify barriers in the education system and address systemic discrimination. The MSS holds monthly peer support meetings. Advocacy issues are taken up by the MSS Collective. Mad student is an alternative to bio-medical perspectives on emotional crisis. Mad Students Society stems from self-advocacy that has its roots in the history of the Psychiatric Survivor movement.
Past Prejudices Back then, there was nowhere to turn to for support within the school system so I eventually looked outside the university to other psychiatric survivors beginning in 1990, the same year I went "public" as a PhD student. Before then I kept it to myself with most people but started speaking out more after becoming active.... I remember both professors and students making the most disparaging comments about people with a psychiatric history during this period and that includes people on both the left and right, and including in the Tas in the union so it cut across political lines. I also remember references from both teachers and students to people who were "defectives and another prof referred to "squirrely" students.
Current Prejudices During our talk, or better to say discussion, I was told that given how I felt sometimes, (meaning sick, depressed, crazy, and need ongoing counseling) and given I am an international student, (meaning I am not eligible for the social/health services provided to Canadian citizens) I shouldnt waste my time and money! Was I really fit and prepared to be here? (meaning in the university and the graduate school). Could I really handle the requirements of my degree program? (maybe I should consider going back to my country?)
Current Issues Accommodations Rights advice in privatized Institutions Class room discussions Curriculum
Strategies for Change Faculty and Professionals Develop standards across universities and colleges to evaluate psychiatric disability practices Allow students to develop evaluations Reframe classroom discussions in order to be inclusive of the diversity of psycho-political identities Counseling and Rights advice should be two separate offices Ensure HR training at the beginning of each school year
Strategies for Change Students Put up posters – create a space for students who will have and have had contact with psychiatric system Focus on experiences and develop solid questions or critiques Learn your Rights ! Celebrate and document successes
Dismantle Mentalism Write your stories Research our history Join in on Madness Pride Day events