Building a Support Network for Peer Workers in NYC

Originally Posted on Mad in America By Sascha Altman DuBrul September 24, 2018 You should know that there are Peer Workers actively organizing in New York City. We had a six hour visioning meeting this weekend in Harlem with 30+ people and there’s a really fired up group of folks … Continue reading

CityViews: Is New York’s Mental-Health System Listening to the Peers Who’ve Lived It?

Originally posted in City Limits  By Noah Phillips Unless you have direct experience with New York City’s mental health infrastructure, you are likely unaware of a unique set of professionals known as Peer Specialists, or Peer Workers. Peers are certified individuals with lived experience of mental health challenges who utilize … Continue reading

Imagined Communities and Teenage Time Killers

When I went back to college at 35 and was studying modern European and Middle Eastern history trying to make sense of being a Jew and the general state of the world and how we all got here, I remember being struck by the similarities between the rise of the … Continue reading

The Next Generation of the Mad Movement in NYC Looks Like This

Originally posted in Mad in America By Sascha Altman DuBrul June 13, 2017 Okay, picture the scene: it’s a Saturday afternoon in mid-June and there’s about 150 of us on the ground floor of a low income housing building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. During the week the … Continue reading

Crazywise – Revisioning Narratives of Psychosis

As someone who was told as an 18 year old that I had a biological brain disease and that my visions and behavior meant I needed to be held down and shot up with antipsychotic drugs for months in a locked mental hospital, I take very personally how our current … Continue reading

The Intersection of the Public Mental Health System and the Mad Underground

I’m watching something really interesting happening in the extended New York City mental health support community: the coming together of the Peer Specialist world based in the public service system and the radical mental health movement based in grassroots and online networks like The Icarus Project and the Hearing Voices Network. … Continue reading

Interview in Psychology Today

SD: “I think that whenever someone we care about is struggling with emotional or mental distress, it is often incredibly useful to seek the guidance of other people who have struggled with similar issues–learned from their experiences–and now have wisdom to share. I am a strong believer in the power … Continue reading

A note to my therapist about Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot

  (*mild spoiler alert*) I guess I wrote this for myself but I was writing to you. I just finished watching two seasons of a TV show called Mr. Robot that’s about a group of weirdo anarchist hackers fighting the Evil Corp in modern day New York City. It was … Continue reading

Your Way of Life is Totally Over

“It took me a long time to figure out that my delusions of grandeur were elaborate labyrinths hiding some terrible pain. Once I figured that out it took me even longer to learn how to use my delusions to built new spaces in the reality around me that other people could … Continue reading

Audio of Our Talk Seville, Spain

Martin and I gave a talk in his town of Seville tonight and it was pretty awesome. There were about 25 of us in a room at a university. So much to write but I’ll just leave you with this recording. Mad love from Southern Spain  

Icaria: The Land of Resistance – Dispatches from Mad Spain

There’s a really good story behind this poster image, and I look forward to telling you all about it, but the  very short version is: there’s a group of anarchists in Southern Spain that managed to get money from the Andalusian government to bring me and my old friend Will … Continue reading

Struggling Against Gentrification in Brooklyn

This is a paper that me and three of my fellow social work students wrote for our Clinical Practice Lab class in the Spring of 2014. I think it turned out really well even if it was a little rushed. We’re all still at Hunter, battling the forces of evil, … Continue reading

Cultural and Ethnic Identity in My Family of Origin

I took a family therapy class this summer and we had to write a paper about where we came from, our families of origin. This is what I wrote. It’s pretty rough but I’m glad I wrote down the basics and the heart of things for me. There was an … Continue reading

Alternatives to Psychiatry Video in Santiago, Chile

This video was shot back in January of 2015 in Santiago, Chile at the Alternatives to Psychiatry Conference. There is a crowd of at least 150 Chileans packed into a community center listening to our talk. The woman translating is the amazing Happy Lee del Canto Sabag. The man speaking with … Continue reading

“Divine Mission” 3 Minute Audio Spoken Word On Madness

Hey this is a short audio piece that’s taken from an interview I did when I was on book tour. It’s a story about getting locked up in the psych ward for thinking I was on a divine mission. The Bipolar World “Divine Mission” (excerpt) Radio documentary. Produced by Mooj Zadie. … Continue reading

The Power of Individual and Collective Narratives

(written for a Prescott College online class in 2012) With all of the different stories to choose from and conflicting roles and narratives, without a strong foundation of identity coming from community or family or nation or history, it is easy to feel the self fragmenting into so many channels … Continue reading

Some International Lessons From the Current Housing Crisis in Spain

  I wrote this paper for an International Policy class at the Silberman School of Social Work in the Summer of 2015. Given the commitment to social justice at my school, I was expecting that in the class we would engage with the history of US and European colonialism and the debt … Continue reading

Tearing Apart the DSM-5 in Social Work School

  This was the final paper for my Summer “Human Behavior 3” class at the Silberman School of Social Work. HB3 is a required class which is basically a crash course in understanding and using the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In Human Behavior 1 and … Continue reading

Silberman Student Profile

My social work school puts out a quarterly newsletter and I’m this quarter’s profiled student! Check it out here. I’m really honored because my school is full of really amazing people and projects. It feels good to be appreciated.      

“My Greco-Judeo Childhood” (written by Anita Altman – my mom)

This is a piece of writing my mom wrote a few years ago about growing up as a Greek Jew in the East (South) Bronx. She’s turning 70 next week and retiring from her job and I’ve always loved this essay and realized it didn’t exist online. So here it … Continue reading