Much Madness is divinest Sense --
To a discerning Eye --
Much Sense -- the starkest Madness --
'Tis the Majority
Invoking us to question and challenge the boundaries between sanity and madness, the poem that gives title to this book was written by Emily Dickinson some 150 years ago. There is perhaps no resolution to the challenge, and may never be full clarity of the boundaries. Yet we must listen to reach the divine; and we might do well to question the majority.
It is time to shed some light on the dark halls and windowless rooms where women's mental health has been hidden from view. Where are the stories? Where are their voices? In historical and psychiatric records, women's mental health is reduced to verifiable symptoms and causes, devoid of the subjective, absent of the lived experience. When confronted with their protestations and self-representations, our medical system and our societal institutions further pathologize, retrauamtize or silence women. Much Madness, Divinest Sense is a collection of women's stories and essays about mental health and health care. These women--physicians, psychotherapists, social workers, community activists, health researchers, Indigenous women, transgender women, our neighbors, daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers who are the recipients, providers and critics of care--break the silence to talk about the polluted, heart-wrenching, stigmatized, messy subject that is mental illness today. As with their first collection, Women Who Care: Women's stories of health care and caring, the stories, essays and poems of women receiving, accompanying, critiquing or giving mental health care are again in this compilation as raw as they are real.
About the Editors
Nili Kaplan-Myrth is a medical anthropologist (PhD Yale University 2003) with expertise in Aboriginal health policy, social inequalities in health and participatory action-based research methodology. Her publications include “Health Research in Indigenous Communities: Overcoming Anthropology’s Colonial Legacy.”
Practicing Anthropology. 26(4): 3-7. and “Alice Without a Looking Glass: Blindness and Body Image.”
Anthropology and Medicine, 7(3): 277-299.
Dr Kaplan-Myrth held a post-doctoral research fellowship with the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto in 2004. She is currently adjunct faculty with the First Nations University of Canada and a co-investigator with colleagues in Canada and Australia on projects to evaluate the design and delivery of health programs in Indigenous communities.
Lori Hanson, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan.
The post-script is written by Allison Crawford, MD, FRCPC, a psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.