Madness Made Me

  • ISBN 9781927213469
  • Author: O'Hagan, Mary
  • Publ Date: 2015-04-20
  • Edition:

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After her journey through madness, Mary OÆHagan realised the mental health system and society did more harm than good. Madness Made Me is a myth-busting account
of madness and our customary responses to it through the lens of lived experience. O'Hagan's journey took her from the psychiatric hospital to the United Nations and many places in between as a leader in the international mad movement. Her fundamental message is that madness is a profoundly disruptive but full human experience. The trouble is most people donÆt see it that way, from the experts who make up clever theories about brain disease to the people down the road who have irrational fears about the mentally ill.
Madness Made Me is a compelling and beautifully written book that uncovers widespread injustice. It ends with vision for a world that holds hope for people with mental distress and treats them with respect and humanity.

About the Author:

MARY O'HAGAN experienced major mental distress and used mental health services as a young woman. She was a key initiator of the mad movement in New Zealand in the
late 1980s, and was the first chairperson of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry between 1991 and 1995. She has been an advisor to the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. Mary was a full-time Mental Health Commissioner in New Zealand between 2000 and 2007. Mary is now an international consultant and social entrepreneur in mental health. She has developed PeerZone û peer-led workshops in mental health and addiction, and is embarking on the development of an online recovery toolkit for people with mental distress and the people who work with them. Mary has three children and lives in Wellington with her partner Sara.


Madness Made Me is well written, insightful, illuminating, thought provoking and a gripping good read. It should be essential reading for anyone contemplating working in mental health care and those already there could benefit enormously û some might have their thinking and practice constructively challenged. For anyone experiencing mental distress or on the receiving end of mental health care, it's a source of inspiration. - Judi Clements, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

This memoir sucks the reader in from the first page. Mary's story, from the psychiatric ward to the United Nations, offers hope to the millions who are told their emotional pain is an
irreversible brain disorder. - John Read, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, author of Models of Madness

An incredible tour de force. Mary replaces the narrative of psychopathology with the subversive idea that there may be value in madness. Everyone should read this beautifully written, ground-breaking book. - Rachel Perkins, mental health service user and co-author of Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice

A privilege to read with a brilliant ending. - Fran Silvestri, President and CEO, International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership
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