“Fostering a Culture of Empowerment in Mental Health Care” exhibit now on view

Blue background. Photo in center of smiling protest attendees holding signs advocating for choice in mental health care. Title: Fostering a Culture of Empowerment in Mental Health Care: Selections from the MindFreedom International Records. Exhibit from Historical Collections & Archives. Brain with wings logo in bottom right.Historical Collections & Archives is pleased to introduce our new exhibit, Fostering a Culture of Empowerment in Mental Health Care: Selections from the MindFreedom International Records, curated by Archives Assistant, Zoë Maughan. The exhibit is now on view online and in the interior Library entrance on the third floor of the BICC until August 2022.

The psychiatric survivors movement emerged from the social unrest and civil rights movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s among people who had experienced human rights violations in the mental health care system. The movement calls attention to the need for self-determination for users of mental health services, and supports advocates in uniting under the banner of “Mad Pride” to affirm their personhood. Psychiatry has been criticized at times for its view of patients as objects to be assessed, diagnosed, and treated. The psychiatric survivors movement, and more specifically the organization MindFreedom International, has empowered individuals to claim their subjectivity and right to make decisions involving their mental health.  

Drawing from the MindFreedom International Records, this exhibit highlights the ways in which activists created space and built community in the psychiatric survivors and Mad Pride movements. Incorporating survivor-led publications, event flyers, art, and photographs, the exhibit examines concepts of resisting control and advocating for choice in mental health treatment.

The exhibit opens in time for Mental Health Awareness Month, which is observed in the United States each May. We hope you’ll check it out online or in person the next time you’re on Marquam Hill.

Visit the Historical Collections & Archives website to learn more about our collections and programming, or to learn more about supporting our work

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