Chennai

‘Mad Pride’ stresses on inclusion

Not ashamed: Participants display a banner at the parade, organised at the Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar.

Not ashamed: Participants display a banner at the parade, organised at the Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar.  

First-of-its-kind event sees participation of people with mental illness

“I want to tell families not to discriminate against their relatives who have mental illnesses,” said K. Porrselvi, a participant in ‘Mad Pride 2019’ at Elliot’s Beach on Thursday.

Organised by The Banyan, Movement for Global Mental Health, TISS, The Other Identity Foundation and BALM Sundram Fasteners Centre for Social Action and Research, the parade saw the participation of people with psychiatric disorders, students and the general public who offered their solidarity on World Mental Health Day.

While Ms. Porrselvi urged families to be more accepting and inclusive of persons with mental illnesses, K.C. Rathi, another participant, said that she wanted more employment opportunities for persons with mental illnesses like her. “We are often paid less. Treat us equally and give us better opportunities,” she said.

‘It’s OK to seek help’, ‘My feelings are valid’ and ‘Let us back into the workforce with equal pay and accommodation’ read some of the placards held by participants. The most resounding of them all was however ‘I celebrate my madness’, which was printed on several banners and captured the spirit of the march.

“We want people to come forward and not be ashamed to speak openly about their mental health. Several participants here shared their experiences to also ensure that others don’t feel alone and know that they have strong allies,” said Mrinalini Ravi, co-lead at BALM.

While the first such event was held in Toronto in 1993, Mad Pride 2019, a first-of-its-kind event in the country, was organised with the aim of challenging discrimination and affirming ‘mad’ identities.

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Printable version | May 22, 2020 5:38:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/mad-pride-stresses-on-inclusion/article29650714.ece

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