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In Memoriam: Pete Shaughnessy - founder of Mad Pride
From: Prof Phil Barker
To: a great many people
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2002 9:18 PM
Subject: In Memoriam: Pete Shaughnessy - founder of Mad Pride
Pete Shaughnessy, one of the founders of seminal mental health activists Mad Pride, died on Saturday (December 14 2002). Pete, was a legendary figure in the mental health world in the UK and beyond. His campaigning and direct actions helped push the government on to the back foot over their plans for forced drug treatment for the mentally ill in the community. He fought against the stigma surrounding mental illness with passion, compassion and humour. Pete knew the value of reclaiming 'madness' from the psychiatric establishment, and through MAD PRIDE showed that humour, creativity and basic humanity, are some of the most powerful tools at our disposal in addressing the 'mental health problems' of a post-modern world.
I shared a platform with him some years ago when he kept interrupting the panel discussion by standing up and removing another of the seven T-shorts he was wearing. Each one said something ruder, and funnier than the one before - most of them about psychiatrists, all of the about psychiatry and the colonisation of 'people' by the medical process. He cut a disruptive, disturbing and delightful figure. I gave up trying to be 'serious'. He was sufficiently funny/serious enough for us all that night.
My friend, Rufus May, passed on the sad news earlier tonight and now I pass the news to you. Post this message on to anyone you think might be interested. Maybe in Pete's passing (and your passing of the 'story' of his death) the movement towards an honest and just appreciation of madness, might be accelerated. Pete was one of those who led the way. Now that he is no longer here the need to remain in the light that shone through him, is all the more important.
Let us think of the loss to his family and close friends but, most of all, let us think of Pete, and the emancipation of the so-called 'mentally ill'. In his death let us all breathe renewed life into the ideal which meant so much to him.
* (link gone)