What Madness has taught me - Kristen Bellows

I fought tooth and nail to not be the depressed person I was told I was. A youth psychiatrist, in 2005, told me that I would never recover and would need medication for the rest of my life. I didn’t know any other way, except what the psychiatrist told me, and I fighting_tooth_and_nail_5_x_7_invitation_card-rf9cb544c3f324bc1bc0dea7e373e8d7f_zk9c4_324hated that way. I used to think I was sick, I was told I was sick and people seemed to dislike me because I was sick. Even the quest to make me “not sick” made me feel worse and affected how people saw me, and not for the better. For me, a diagnosis of a mental illness was a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.

madNEWprideshirtSmThe day I learned about Madness was the day I stopped being sick. It was the day I began to heal from my past wounds caused by psychiatry, society and myself. It was the day I found myself. It was the day I found my value and strength. Madness opened me up to a rich history of people who have felt, thought and experienced things differently and were celebrated not labeled as sick. Madness taught me about neurodiversity, that all of our brains have different structuring and levels of functioning and are supposed to be that way. And Madness taught me about sanism and how what I was condemned to be, a sick, depressed person, was the result of discrimination and not a flaw on my part.



Banners and bright colour signs from the mad pride parade in Salvador, Brazil

We are moving beyond stigma. We have history. We can be awesome.

Share me and get involved in this years Parade. subject line: “Bed Push Parade”

Banners and bright colour signs from the mad pride parade in Salvador, Brazil
Mad Pride parade in Salvador, Brazil, in 2009

By Alfredo Mascarenhas – originally posted to Flickr as II Parada do Orgulho Louco, CC BY 2.0,


Mad Pride Toronto invites you and your organization to create signs and banners to show off your pride at this years Bed-Push.

Picture of Mad Pride 2015 - Bed Push
Mad Pride 2015 – Bed Push

Marches are more fun and powerful when banners show solidarity and a great sense of humour. Especially when they include Mad-Puns: “Madvocates move me”, “I am Mad about equality”, “Truly Madly Deeply”, “MadInfo makes you Madawesome”. Here is some inspiration from France (

MAD PRIDE 2015 – 13 juin à Paris

Do you have questions about making signs and banners? We will have a sign party closer to the March, but stay in touch and talk to your organization now.



Learn and help organize Mad Pride 2016 with a swarm of beautiful and understanding Mad Organizers.

Join us at Progress Place:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 5:30-7:30
Progress Place
576 Church Street
Toronto, Ontario

Contact for any questions. We need help with talking to organizations and different communities, fundraising, organizing events (finding locations, participants), and lots more.


Mad Play - The Friendly Spike Theatre

Join the Friendly Spike Theatre Band from July 12-15, 2016 as they present their new play as part of Mad Pride Toronto 2016 “What’s Next … The Big C?”

“What’s Next … The Big C?”
by Henrik Kartna

In Celebration of MAD PRIDE TORONTO 2016

Tuesday, July 12 to Friday, July 15, 2016 @ 7:00 pm
The Scotiabank Studio Theatre within The Pia Bouman School of Ballet and Creative Movement
6 Noble Street, Toronto (One block west of Dufferin Street, north of Queen Street West)

Logo Canada Council for the Arts

All performances are Pay What You Can

Opening Night
Wednesday July 13, 2016

*Celebrate the company and toast director Ruth (Ruth) Stackhouse on her SIXTIETH Birthday at our post performance reception
Reservations are advised at

Poster from The Friendly Spike Theatre
Pamphlet – more information to come.



Celebrate and Empower  TORONTO MAD PRIDE WEEK 2016 – July 11th – 17th


Mad Pride Week is an arts, culture, and community festival created to celebrate, empower and build community. We are working not only to end stigma and oppression, but to show our strength and enjoyment of life.

Toronto Mad Pride was started in 1993 by community activists in Parkdale as “Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day”, and is now part of a global movement from the UK to Australia.

The festival will have a great line-up of events: the Mad Market of arts, music and fun; a Public Forum presented by the Empowerment Council; a Theatrical Performance by Friendly Spike Theatre; a line-up of Academic Events, including discussions and activities co-sponsored by Ryerson University; and the annual flagship Bed-Push Parade (symbolizing the movement from hospital to community) that ends with a Picnic at Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

To create these events we need and value long-term relationships with community partners and we’re asking you to contribute to Mad Pride Toronto 2016. There are many ways to do so:

  • Contribute through monetary or in-kind donations
  • Volunteer with event planning and/or on-site at events
  • Spread the word about Toronto Mad Pride Week 2016

And, of course, come out to the events and join in the fun July 11th-17th!

Your contributions will help achieve our shared goals and build your organization’s profile in mental health and community building. Partners and contributors will be acknowledged through posters, event signage, website and social media channels.

Please support Mad Pride 2016, supported by, and a project of, Sound Times Support Services of Metropolitan Toronto, (charitable status #133639187RR0001).

Help us make Mad Pride Week 2016 an outstanding event and support our goal of ending the stigma against mental illness and celebrating our Mad Pride.

Thank you,

Mad Pride Planning Group

280 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A 3A4   @madpridetoronto