In the last two days two great campaigners passed on. Mary Raftery, journalist and social investigator and John McCarthy, mental health campaigner and founder of Mad Pride.
John and Mary collaborated on the documentary on Ireland’s old psychiatric system, Behind the Walls. Two strong, brave, tenacious people putting it up to us all to take responsibility.
To quote Mary, “Make people face it and make people furious”.
John, I got to know over the past eighteen months and I will remember him fondly. I will remember him in full flow, his passion and determination capturing the moment and holding it boldly.
His message to speak out, be confident, be righteous; be proud of who you are, demand your rights; claim the integrity of your body, mind and spirit and be good to each other.
For John everything was up for voicing. And most of all the celebration of madness, the right to dignity and the preciousness of the human spirit.
Do honour the passing of these two great people.
Honour Mary by ensuring that the degrading culture of control and neglect evident in the old psychiatric institutions is extinguished. Commit to a culture of respect and hope, core to the recovery ethos. Ensure that the abuse of vulnerable people will not be tolerated.
Honour John by giving voice, by celebrating difference; by respecting the integrity of each of us to self-determination and the enshrining of the protection of the individuals rights in law. And have fun and be good to one another.