Mad Pride Day: History, Theme, and Significance

OV Digital Desk

14 July is observed as Mad Pride Day.  It is a mass movement of the users of mental health services, former users, and the aligned, which advocates that individuals with mental illness should be proud of their ‘mad’ identity. Activists supporting Mad Pride seek to reclaim terms such as “mad”, “nutter”, and “psycho” from misuse, such as in tabloid newspapers.

Mad Pride activists use mass media campaigns to raise awareness about mental disabilities, the mental health system, and suicide worldwide. On the same day, Bastille Day, International Non-Binary People’s Day, and Pride Month are observed as well. On a similar theme, World Mental Health Day is celebrated on 10 October every year to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

History of Mad Pride Day

In 1993, it was formed due to prejudices against people with psychiatric histories living in boarding homes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s been held every year since then in the city except for 1996.

Around the same time, the UK started a similar movement. The Mad Pride name was being used around the world by the late 1990s. This included Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, France, South Korea, and the United States. Many events draw thousands of people, says MindFreedom International, a mental health advocacy group that promotes and tracks them.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

 The theme of Mad Pride Day

Mad Pride Day 2024 is a celebration that focuses on shedding shame, challenging discrimination, advocating for rights, affirming mad identities, remembering and participating in mad history, and having fun. This day is organized by psychiatric survivors, consumers, and individuals labeled as “mentally ill” to reclaim terms like “mad” and “psycho” from misuse. The event includes activities such as marches, spoken word performances, music, and speeches.

While there isn’t a specific theme announced for 2024, the overarching goals remain consistent: to celebrate the lives and contributions of those with mental health conditions and to promote a positive and inclusive understanding of mental health.

Significance of Mad Pride Day

Mad Pride Day involves various activities such as marches, educational events, and celebrations that highlight the contributions and experiences of those with mental health conditions. It serves as a reminder of the importance of mental health awareness and the need for systemic changes in how society views and treats mental illness.

By participating in Mad Pride Day, individuals and communities can help foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone, regardless of their mental health status.

Quick facts about Persons with Mental disabilities

Here are a few facts about mental disabilities:

  • It’s estimated that 4.6 million people in the US have an intellectual disability.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is totally preventable and causes mental disability.
  • Children with cognitive disabilities may develop slower than other children in terms of speaking, walking, and taking care of themselves (showering, eating, dressing).
  • Genetic disorders cause about 25% of mental disabilities.
  • According to a BBC poll in the UK, “retarded” is the most offensive disability word.
  • The majority of people with these disabilities show only mild symptoms and, with the right support, can learn and grow a lot.
  • In the United States, 92% of adults with mental disabilities live independently or with family members, while 8% live in institutions.
  • There are 25 to 33% of kids with mental disabilities whose cause is unknown.

Mad Pride Day Observation Dates

Mad Pride Day, observed on July 14, is a significant event for the mental health community.

Year Date Day
2019 14-Jul-19 Sunday
2020 14-Jul-20 Tuesday
2021 14-Jul-21 Wednesday
2022 14-Jul-22 Thursday
2023 14-Jul-23 Friday
2024 14-Jul-24 Sunday
2025 14-Jul-25 Monday
2026 14-Jul-26 Tuesday
2027 14-Jul-27 Wednesday
2028 14-Jul-28 Friday
2029 14-Jul-29 Saturday

Read Also: World Mental Health Day