CGSM Spring Institute
Re-imagining Mental Health Praxis: Workshop on Decolonizing and Mad Studies Approaches
The Centre’s third annual Spring Institute for trainees and Faculty of Health Sciences Master’s students is on this week. The two-day workshop will explore Decolonizing/Indigenous and Mad Studies approaches to redressing social inequities and promoting wellness.
Decolonizing approaches aim to dismantle the ongoing practices and effects of colonialism while reclaiming and centering the knowledge, histories, life experiences, and ways of knowing of Indigenous Peoples. Mad Studies privileges the knowledge and perspectives of people who have been considered mad, insane or mentally ill.
In particular participants will explore the strategies and practical implications of these approaches for promoting health and healing in diverse historical and social contexts, and for promoting liberatory ‘mental health’ praxis that does not re-inscribe relations of dominance derived from histories of sanism and colonialism.
Gord Bruyere (Amawaajibitang) is Anishnabe, originally from Couchiching First Nation and now lives on Anishnabe territory in Lakefield, ON. He is a poet, writer, musician and educator. He is co-editor of Wícihitowin: Aboriginal Social Work in Canada.
Since the late ’90s, he has led the development and implementation of a First Nations Specialization (BSW) at the University of Victoria, the first Aboriginal-centred BSW program in BC at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. Recently he developed a new diploma program for the Native Education College and on-line Indigenous Cultural Competency training for the Provincial Health Services Authority of BC.
He is currently completing a self-directed residency for Aboriginal Artists at the Banff Centre for the Arts to complete his first manuscript of poetry.
Erick Fabris is a psychiatric survivor, mad activist, and ethnographic writer. After being forcibly treated in Vancouver in 1993, he returned to Toronto, working with West End Psychiatric Survivors to initiate Survivor Pride Day. He soon began to advocate with the Queen Street Patients Council and co-founded the No Force Coalition in Ontario.
Erick’s recently published book on psychiatric coercion, Tranquil Prisons: Chemical Incarceration Under Community Treatment Orders calls for abandoning forced treatment which shortens life spans, causes iatrogenic impairments, and mentally disables us all through mentalist and sanist labels. It discusses how preemptive and surreptitious control of behavior with toxic psychoactive substances are unethical treatment and an unconstitutional restraint.
Currently Erick lectures in Disability Studies at Toronto’s Ryerson University, helps consumer/survivor agencies with website development, and is promoting his research.