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  2. Helen Spandler: The Politics of Mental Health: Taking Experiential Knowledge Seriously

Helen Spandler: The Politics of Mental Health: Taking Experiential Knowledge Seriously

Open Psychology Research Centre Strands logo

This talk was recorded and presented for the launch of the OPRC, Opening Psychology for Changing Times in Summer 2021.

PHeW Strand Lead, Dr David Kaposi introduces Professor Helen Spandler (University of Central Lancashire), followed by commentaries from Dr Simon Clarke and Dr Laura McGrath (The OU) and Q&A session.

Current mental health discourse often refers to the value of ‘lived experience’ and ‘experts by experience’. But what does it really mean to take experience seriously, especially Mad experiences? This talk will highlight the value of experiential knowledge generated through a range of sources: including psychiatric survivor testimony, radical mental health zines and activism. I suggest that seriously attending to this knowledge can be unsettling, contradictory, yet ultimately rewarding.

Key Readings:

MadZines research project and Asylum: the radical mental health magazine

Spandler, H. (2020) Crafting Psychiatric Contestation through single-panel cartoons. In PathoGraphics: Narrative, Aesthetics, Contention, Community. Edited by S. Squier and I. Marei.  Penn State University, Pennsylvania. pp: 115-134

Spandler, H. and Poursanidou, D. (2019) Who’s Included in the Mad Studies Project? Journal of Ethics in Mental Health. V1