Mental Health Activism

20141107_143004_2Welcome to another blog post from Matthew Mckenzie a carer over in South London. On this blog I want to talk about activism. When you think of mental health problems or those who might be vulnerable due to capacity issues then human rights is not far behind. The way how society treats those suffering mental health issues can speak volumes. Mental health affects us all, that being caregivers or carers, mental health survivors and society at large.


We have come a long way throughout the ages when those suffering mental ill health were constantly being mistreated e.g. persecuted, stigmatized and placed in chains. I am in no way saying we are at the perfect situation when coming to mental ill health, we still have far to go and one way we can promote change is through activism.

Activism does not have to be violent and dissenting, we can change the mental health system through either working with mental health professionals or highlighting ill practice. If you check out my video, you can see how people used activism to constitute change.

Many activists tend to put their reputation on the line, because they try to tackle the norm by having vision which states we do not always have to abide by the same practices. One of the most critical aspects about activism is being active, you cannot often sit on the side lines when promoting change, you have to be seen doing something to push through such changes.

A lot of mental health activist tend to set up pressure groups, mental health awareness groups, research centers, health centers or even anti-psychiatry groups. All mental health activists used such groups to not only raise awareness, but also to cooperate and collaborate on changing mental health for the better.

What ever the mental health problems of the day, be it objecting that chains to be placed on mental health sufferers or challenging mental health practices, activists usually champion a cause. It is usually helpful to make as many people know about the causes as much as possible.

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Unfortunately not all pressure groups are successful and some groups break up or fade away, while other groups grow from strength to strength since they incorporate strong supporters and push through change.

It is important that mental health activists be clear on what they are objecting to. Sometimes lobbying or pushing for changes can take a very long time and people do tend to think that an activist can usually be disagreeable, but if it is clear what the activists are objecting against, then hopefully many people can see cause stands for.


Successful activism can lead to many reforms e.g. civil rights, women’s rights and human rights. What was considered acceptable has slowly become unacceptable. Reform can be strengthened by new laws or new regulations in order to protect those suffering mental health abuse. This does not mean activism always works, but its goal usually leads to changing norms.

Not all activists have the answers to what works, but those who do know what is good for mental health will promote their ideas and champion not only their beliefs, but also champion those who adhere to their beliefs. Some problems with mental health are difficult to solve as psychiatry is still evolving. Many people around the world still stigmatize mental health sufferers so a lot still needs to change.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post about mental health activism, please do not forget to check out my video.