The digital archives of the Mental Patients Union contains the following selection of documents from the physical archives of the MPU:
- Mental Patients Union Newsletter No.1 (Spring 1973)
- Mental Patients Union News 2 (August 1973)
- Mental Patients Union News 3 (February 1974)
- A Directory of the Side Effects of Psychiatric Drugs (October 1975)
- Matthew O'Hara Committee News 2 (Summer 1981)
Mental Patients Union Scrapbook - The scrapbook contains a variety of material including press clippings, correspondance and posters produced by the MPU. For a timeline of the MPU's work please see this section of Andrew's survivor history timeline.
Further information on the publications available on this website
The first newsletter produced by the Mental Patients Union in Spring 1973. It contains the following:
- an update on the work done since the first general meeting of the MPU on March 21st 1973.
- Details the formation of the MPU office in Kentish Town as well as the foundation of local MPU groups in Leeds, South-East London, Manchester and Surrey.
- Provides a list of bins (mental hospitals) across England where the MPU had Union reps.
- Provides details of legal advice and help that are being made available by the union.
- Details future plans for the MPU and call for support.
- Recounts details from panel discussions, meetings and conferences that members of the MPU had taken part in or had been invited to take part in.
- Poetry from members.
- Book recommendations.
- List of organisation that the MPU had support from; (USA): Mental Patients Association in Vancouver, Mental Patients Political Action Committee in New York, Mental Patients Liberation Project in Denver, Rough Times magazine; (UK): Merton Alternative Library, Commmunity Drug Project, Birmingham Peace Centre, BIT, Bedford Project, Campaign for the Legislation of Cannibis, National Federation of Claimants Unions, Release, Southamptons Peoples Centre, International Commission for Human Rights, Women in Action, PROP, Public Action committee for Broadmoor, Christian Action, The Cyrenians.
- List of recent Press coverage: Case Con, Freedom News, Peace News, Time Out, Gay News, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Free and Easy, Quest, Mind Out, Movement, New Society Nova, Peoples News, Social Services, The Today Programme (BBC Radio) and Radio London.
- Membership form.
Fight for Rights, MPU News August '73. The second newsletter produced by the MPU containing:
- Pam and the MPU - A write up on work done, list of demands and details of the work needed in the formation of A Constitution of the MPU.
- General Meeting: Election of Co-Ordinating Committee.
- Paris Conference 30 June 1973 - Write up on the conference which had aimed to draw up an International Charter of Demands.
- An article on the Charter of Rights the MPU was working to establish in England and the need to formulate a European Charter of Rights.
- Instructions on Kite Flying, including using them for aerial photography and radio.
- Poem - Year’s End by H. Jenkins.
- The Politics of Parsimony abridged by Erik Irwin from Rough Times, published by Ballentine Books, 1973.
- Selected Words from Mao Tse Tung.
- Poetry of Michael Marnell, transcribed by Pam Edwards.
- List of groups and call-outs.
- E.C.T. How Does It Feel: One Account.
- Petition to prevent the eviction of the MPU from the Union Building in Kentish Town.
The third newsletter published in February 1974 containing the following:
- MPU decentralizes: details of local groups set up or being set up in 18 areas throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
- Question of Levels: a reprint of text from the foundation of Scottish Union of Mental Patients (SUMP).
- Basic Issue: Questioning the lack of patients rights in hospitals, challenging the 1959 Mental Health Act.
- Private Lives: Mental Health Review Tribunals, 1973 Social Security Act, Computerized Information on Mental Patients.
- Repression: Statement on the hypocrisy of Western Psychiatrists opposing enforced psychiatric ‘treatment’ on prisoners in the USSR, when in Britain the mental patient has no human rights.
- Contacts: contact information of MPU local groups (on the back of poster).
- Poster: Stop the Violence Against Mental Patients.
- East and West: Continued article from Repression. Statement on how psychiatry oppresses the working class and is used as a form of control of activists and any one opposing the system of production.
- Case of the Rattled Shrink: letters published between a psychiatrist who posed as a full member of the MPU and the Coordinating Commitee.
- Women are Committed: Article on the abuse of women detained in hospital (in Leavesden Hospital Hertfordshire) for the mentally “subnormal”, treating “behaviourly disturbed girls’ (i.e. working class) with conditioning therapy, contrasted with an outpatient at St James Hospital being given no treatment.
- Patient Letters
- Housing News: Update on struggle with Camden council to be granted a secure union building.
Pamphlet on the use, dangers and side effects of psychiatric drugs containing:
- Instructions on use of the Side-Effect Directory
- What is “Schizophrenia”
- List of books to help with own research
- Psychiatric Drug Directory - Drugs used to control “Schizophrenia - The Phenothiazine Drugs
- Anti-Parkinsonian Drugs, Haloperidol, Drugs used to Suppress Anxiety, Tranquillisers
- Tri-cyclic anti-depressants
- Drugs used against depression - anti-depressants, tri-cyclic anti-depressants
- Sleeping Pills
- Methaqualone and nitrazepam
The death of Matthew O’Hara after his mistreatment in prison lead to the end of MPU housing.
Matthew O’Hara had worked for human rights to be extended to all human beings, including mental patients. In August 1980 the Matthew O'Hara Committee: for Civil Liberties and Community Care was founded, this is their second newsletter.
The Matthew O’Hara Committee sought to continue Matthew’s struggle against the injustice of mental health laws and to monitor and investigate the many forms of state violence and neglect that affect particularly isolated and vulnerable sections of the community. The committee was part of the State Brutality Group, along with groups working in memory of Blair Peach, Jimmy Kelly and Richard Campbell, who all died at the hands of the police. The State Brutality Group became the charity INQUEST.
- Committee Report by Jean Milloy
- Inquest: It’s Aims and Objects
- Hackney Workers’ Educational Association: Autumn Programme
- The Community Care Workshop
- Canguard and Carmel’s Commune by Joan Hughes
- City and Hackney Association for Mental Health (CHAMH)
- Prison’s Don’t Work - Official. By WIlliam Whitelaw and others
- Alternatives to Prison by Tony Ward
- ‘Second Chance’ by Alan Leader
- The (Filey Avenue) Probation Hostel Controversy by Ruth Gee
- Hungering A Poem by David Kessel
- A Brief Account of Janet Cresswell’s Case by Bill Warwick
- Matthew O’Hara: Campaign Progress by Jean Milloy
- Hackneys Psychiatric Units by John Reed
- Mental Handicap by Andrew Roberts, HPP, and others
- History: Prisons, Workhouses, Lunatic and Idiot Asylums
- Review: ‘Museum of Madness’
- Why Send Them to Prison? - Day School Programme