'Mad Pride' Calls for Rethink of Insanity

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2009 7:11 PM CDT
The 8,000-member-strong Icarus Group, based in Manhattan, urges Americans to reconsider mental illness and cast doubt on medical solutions.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A growing grassroots movement called Mad Pride is urging Americans to reconsider mental illness as a "dangerous gift" rather than a disease, Newsweek reports. Spearheaded by the 8,000-member-strong Icarus Project, based in Manhattan, Mad Priders are "pro-choice" about meds—take them if you want—and say mental illness can be considered creative, spiritual, even beautiful.

An outgrowth of the 1960s and '70s "mad liberation" movement, which painted psychiatric care as coercive, Icarus focuses on support groups and alternative health. Not surprisingly, it has its critics. But Listening to Prozac author Peter Kramer, who calls psychotic depression "a disease," admits that "in an ideal world, you'd want good peer support like Icarus—for people to speak up for what's right for them and have access to resources."