The Pink Panther Movement is part of the international Mad Pride movement that started in Canada in 1993. The Mad Pride movement was a response to local community prejudices towards people experiencing mental health issues. Mad Pride is not a single organisation but rather a collection of dispersed organisations sharing similar ideals and aspirations. The focus of The Pink Panther Movement is on improving Australian Mental Health Services through aggressive advocacy, public education and well thought through reform proposals.
The use of the term “mad” is not intended to belittle or demean. Quite the opposite – it highlights just how fine the line is between those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and those who have not. People experiencing psychological anguish might be terrified, conflicted, traumatised, and confused but they are not ill, broken or somehow inferior. We can all experience madness. For some people it’s fleeting and inconsequential; for others it’s enduring and life-changing. It’s time to stop the “them and us”. We are all trying to make sense of our experiences so that we can forge lives that are important and meaningful. Once we learn as a community to be more helpful rather than destructive to each other we will have begun to understand what it means to be human and come to terms with understanding madness.
* Mad Pride is about getting people talking about madness in creative ways.
* We want to talk about how mad our world really is, about all the inequality and injustice, greed and violence and how all this madness so often makes us unwell.
* We want to challenge the tyranny of normality and to celebrate diversity and difference.
* With the assistance of art, music and storytelling, we want to help people share their highs, lows, breakdowns and breakthroughs, their struggles and successes.
* We want to bring people together so that we can help one another better navigate all this madness and build together a more beautiful world.
There is wide spread agreement today that the Australian mental health system has become an unworkable mess. There are currently about 5 million Australians experiencing mental health problems. If you take into account families etc who are affected, this number is probably at least double.
Australia is regarded as having one of the worse mental health systems in the developed world. When we compare the present system with the ideals set down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) we are a long way behind and in a quite shameful situation. The problems however don’t stop there. The occurrence of serious mental health problems among young Australians including children appears to be rapidly rising. This increase goes far beyond anything that can be attributed to natural causes. The bitter truth is that we appear to have become one of a number of countries that is manufacturing mental illness rather than healing it.
The issue is what to do about it. There are many people running around proposing solutions. Most suggest that state and federal governments spends more money to try and prop up the existing mess. We don’t think that is a good or even a viable solution. We believe that spending more money on something that has never worked and is making the problem worse is just insanity.
This is where the Pink Panther Movement comes in. Apart from anything else the existing system is hopelessly inefficient so we are putting together properly thought through plans to improve it. We believe that this will work much better for everyone with little if any additional costs. Our aim is to also restore dignity and respect to those living with mental health problems, put a stop to involuntary treatment and empower people to make their own informed choices and decisions about their treatment.