photo by Peter Van Pelt
Mary Elizabeth Van Pelt is a psychiatric survivor who is not afraid to question a system of care that has good intensions but often falls short. After being held for three months in a locked psychiatric ward she tells her own story of recovery and invites others to do the same. Her book is titled In Silence I Speak: My Journey through Madness. She says, “When we share our stories we help each other heal.” Mary’s writing speaks with a passion for social justice and concern for people who are oppressed in this land of opportunity and abundance. Mary began speaking publically after she experienced job discrimination based on her bipolar diagnosis.
Psychiatric survivors are part of a movement for social change. We have been labeled and experienced forced psychiatric treatment. Our stories of survival, resistance and recovery give voice to our experiences and connect us to a larger community raising consciousness about injustice and inequality, and exposing the darker side of psychiatry. We also promote alternatives for people in emotional distress.