Magazine dedicated to “unsung hero” of mental health

Britain’s longest-running grassroots mental health magazine has dedicated its latest edition to former editor Terence McLaughlin, an “unsung hero” of mental health.

The most recent edition of Asylum is tributed to psychologist Terence McLaughlin, the magazine’s unpaid editor from 2001 until his death from cancer in September last year.

McLaughlin was a much-respected and “tireless” mental health activist and advocate for two decades, supporting groups such as the Hearing Voices Network and the Paranoia Network which offered alternative ways to understand psychosis.

McLaughlin, from Stockport, Manchester, was respected by many in the service user movement for his voluntary support and dedication to campaigns and recovery struggles. He also advocated informally for a number of patients, and assisted artists and writers touched by mental health issues.

Asylum, a bi-annual workers co-operative magazine, was set up in 1986 by Sheffield psychiatrist Alec Jenner. Its launch edition featured an interview with existential Scottish psychiatrist Ronald Laing.

David Harper, a reader in clinical psychology at the University of East London, wrote in Asylum’s Mclaughlin tribute edition: “Terence was a real unsung hero of mental health activism. He was often found facilitating the involvement of other people. Terence was a real trooper – he would travel miles to support a campaign he agreed with.”

Mclaughlin’s activism was underpinned by his leftist politics. He also had a mischievous sense of humour. One story recounted in Asylum was when Mclaughlin provided support in the 1990s to a Manchester psychiatric patient, Ron Coleman, who absconded from a section. When the police arrived at McLaughlin’s house at 3am looking for Coleman, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, McLaughlin told the police that they should instead wake up Coleman’s psychiatrist for having given Coleman, who heard voices, the “wrong diagnosis.” Coleman is now a leading international mental health trainer in recovery.

London activist Louise Pembroke : “Terry was an activists’ activist. He exemplified moral integrity and worked solidly, with no ego, no status-seeking and no money-seeking.”

Asylum is now published by PCCS books

Phil Virden, a co-founder of Asylum and its executive editor, said: “Asylum was established more than 20 years ago to offer an open and non-partisan forum for debate amongst everyone who has an interest in mental health care and treatment.”

McLaughlin, who had a Phd in psychology, had contributed a chapter to the book, Deconstructing Psychopathology, which challenges psychiatric orthodoxy.

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