Toronto Mad Pride Week 2016 is July 11-17.


jul 11


Ryerson Annual Activist Lecture
Deemphasizing psychiatric diagnosis in postsecondary academic accommodation: A radical reimagining




jul 12


Working in alliance with Psychiatrists, Psychologists and other Heroes: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Friendly Spike Theatre Band – “What’s Next…the Big C” Preview Show



jul 13


Friendly Spike Theatre Band – “What’s Next…the Big C”





jul 14


Friendly Spike Theatre Band – “What’s Next…the Big C”





jul 15

Intro to Tai Chi 
Panel discussion – Anti-black Racism & Madness 
Peer Supporter Strategy and Discussion Session 
Improv Workshop for Anxiety
Introduction to Mindful Living
Friendly Spike Theatre Band – “What’s Next…the Big C”
MADx by night


jul 16


Mad Hatter Street Fair & Marketplace along with the Mad Hatter Tea Party, Hat Showcase, & Contest


Survive our Stage




Mad Pride Bed-Push Parade featuring social-justice band Samba Elégua!






Mad Pride Week Begins at Activist Lecture Navi Dhanota

Mad Pride Week 2016 began July 11 at Ryerson University at the Ryerson Annual Activist Lecture by Navi Dhanota. The speakers and questions unearthed challenges and insights into activism in the education system and beyond: from community organizing to litigation.

Kathryn Church is Director of Disability Studies. Navi Dhanota is a PhD candidate in the Critical Disability Studies program at York University. Reema Khawja Counsel, Legal Services and Inquiries Ontario Human Rights Commission. Dianne Wintermute Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre
L-R Kathryn Church is Director of Disability Studies. Navi Dhanota is a PhD candidate in the Critical Disability Studies program at York University. Reema Khawja, Counsel, Legal Services and Inquiries
Ontario Human Rights Commission. Dianne Wintermute
Lawyer, ARCH Disability Law Centre (Photo Alex Nishri)

Members of the Mad Pride Toronto Planning Group welcomed students, faculty, activists and the public.

Mad Pride Planning Group (Some members L-R Sean, Karla, Lois, Sharyn, Tim) (Photo Alex Nishri)



Dialectical Living answered our seven questions about their workshop and Mad Pride. Check out the Introduction to Mindful Living workshop at Mad Pride Week Toronto on Friday, July 15 at Ryerson University (4:30-5:45 SHE 660 (99 Gerrard St E, near Jarvis)) [Full event list]

Mindfulness by
Mindfulness by

Q. What are you most excited about with your workshop at Mad Pride?

1. Dialectical Living is most excited about sharing with Mad activists and allies the innumerable benefits of mindfulness in everyday life on July 15th at Ryerson University (4:30 – 5:45 pm SHE 660 (99 Gerrard St E, near Jarvis)). Thanks to Mad volunteers for setting up this great space.

Q What do we need to know about you and your Mad Self (as a group or individual)?

2. What you need to know about Dialectical Living is we are a peer based organization. That means all Dialectical Living employees and volunteers have lived experience.

Q How do you describe your experience with madness?

3. Our peers have various experiences with madness. One of our peer workers, Kristen, wrote a great piece on being a mother with a mental health history. Check it out!



Saraƒin is a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, and mad identified person. Asylum Squad, the webcomic, was born during a year long stay in a Toronto mental institution as a creative means of passing Saraƒin’s time. She will be selling her work at the Mad Hatter Street Fair and Marketplace.

Picture of Asylum Squad Web Comic
Asylum Squad – Saraƒin’s long running Mad Comic!
  1. What are you most excited about with your new book, Asylum Squad: The Jung Ones 2?
I am excited, as I always am, at the prospect of making new fans, and advancing the storyline.  This book was the most action packed in the series thus far, and was a joy to work on.
  1. What do we need to know from previous issues to understand the new book?

It helps to have at least read The Jung Ones pt 1, even better to have read Monster Hospital 1 & 2.  There are recaps in each new volume of events that occurred in previous books.  Basically, at this point, Liz Madder and company are well into the Ajna Project: an experimental drug treatment program based on Jungian psychiatry, that they signed up for, and were accepted into, during their stay at St Dymphna’s psychiatric hospital.

  1. How do you describe your experience with madness? 
I do not like psychiatric labels, for I have been given many in my life, and none of them seemed to stick or describe me very well.  I prefer to use the term Mad, even though I don’t consider myself a “sufferer of mental illness” – rather, I feel that I see the world through an unusual perspective due to a form of spiritual emergency that started in my mid 20s.
  1. What does Mad Pride mean to you?




Here’s your Guide to a Mad Week…


What is Mad Pride?

Mad Pride Community is growing like a tree.


Picture of Mad Pride 2015 - Bed Push
Mad discussions and forums, Friendly Spike Theatre Band, Mad Hatter Street Festival, MADx, SOS, Bed Push (Mad Pride Parade), Picnic

Volunteer – Mad Pride Toronto

Hand reaching to help volunteer

 Participate and Perform

Christine Shaheen makes multi-textured mad art

Art, dance, comedy, sketch, writing, poetry. Music. & Peer supporters.



Contact and Share



Mad in Islam: Compassion for the Muslim Alcoholic

Ariane Bakhtiar

Man drinks beer
Alcohol isolation darkness – Madness? David Jones/PA Wire

Note to the Reader: Terms like mad, crazy, drunk, or junkie are often harmful in that they have historically been used to marginalize people with mental health challenges. In an effort to reclaim harmful language, this article includes mad as a term of empowerment for those who have been excluded socially and/or pathologized by the clinicians, hospitals and rehab centres that have “treated” them. The title “Mad in Islam”, then, refers to Muslims and their allies who recognize the need for programs and services established by Muslim communities for mad Muslims.

The surah Al-Ma’idah (the table spread) – a chapter of the Qur’an – states: “Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist? (5.91) Intoxicants, but in particular alcohol, create a spiritual barrier between God and the believer. While scripture does not provide much explanation as to what establishes this barrier, the dulling properties of alcohol are a detriment to prescribed activities, like salaat – prayer – or iqraa – the study of scripture –, that require alertness and authentic intention. (more…)


The relevant question in psychiatry shouldn't be what's wrong with you, but what happened to you?

Editor: Do you, or people around you, blame yourself, others, diagnosis, society or do you recognize that “Something happened to me”

It took me a long time to acknowledge that I had been through multiple traumatic experiences. The first time I heard a therapist refer to my emotional reactions as the result of trauma I stopped seeing her. I wasn’t ready to acknowledge that people had done things to me that have left a lasting mark. I wasn’t taught that people could or had hurt me. I was taught that I was hurting myself. The message that I received, loud and clear, as a teen was that everything was the fault of my mental illness and that I was solely responsible for everything that had happened to me.  I was on a constant quest to fix myself so people would like me. I believed that people treated me poorly because I was difficult, sad, annoying, and impulsive. It never occurred to me that the poor treatment I received meant there was something wrong with them and how they saw me as a person. (more…)