Peer Support & Activism

Peer Support & Activism Exhibits

Community living opened up the option – and the necessity – of former patients coming together, creating survivor/consumer support groups and finding common cause in activism and shared cultural expression. Explore the following exhibits in our Peer Support and Activism section.

An Activist and an Academic

man and woman standing smiling in front of buildng holding award plaqueLearn about a marriage of street smarts and scholarly skills, an impossible combination in the asylum era. Eugène Leblanc, director of an innovative Moncton support group, and Nérée St-Amand, professor of social work at the University of Ottawa, met in 1987. Sharing a savvy critique of the mental health system, they have been working together ever since.Visit An Activist and an Academic.

Doreen Befus

Strong looking older woman with glassesAcknowledge this woman’s patience, resilience, and personal courage in challenging medical and social labels of deficiency. Doreen Befus grew up in Alberta’s infamous Michener Centre, where she was sterilized without her knowledge or consent as part of the provincial eugenics program. Deinstitutionalized in the 1970s, she became a caregiver, an activist, and a writer.  Visit Doreen Befus.

A Utopian Experiment

Meet these radicals and reconsider who could be in charge of the fate of mental health. Vancouver’s pioneering group MPA was Canada’ first democratic, peer-directed mental health organization. It inverted asylum hierarchies and put former patients and sympathetic lay supporters in charge. This exhibit includes a series of biographical sketches and case studies. Visit A Utopian Experiment.