Survivor Spoken Word: Leah Harris

First Aired: 12-30-2009 -- 11 comments | Add comment
Leah Harris

Leah Harris was orphaned after both parents were diagnosed with schizophrenia and died from medication toxicity. Today she is a leading voice in survivor activism, and her powerful spoken word poetry, including “I Was A Teenage Mental Patient,” has been featured in publications including Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, and DC Poets against the War: An Anthology. Leah is also the co-coordinator of the US Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.

Buy her new cd “Take Refuge” at the National Empowerment Center:

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11 comments on “Survivor Spoken Word: Leah Harris

  1. Leah is a brave and wonderful woman, thank you so much for the download link – well worth it 🙂

  2. I listened to Ms. Harris’ exquisite interview on her use of the spoken word as a creative expression of her psychiatric oppression. It spoke to me because of a recent article I published on the parallels between our current “mental sickness” system and cult indoctrination. This article was published in a professional journal for mental health counselors in Oct. 2009. Since your site doesn’t allow for attachments, you can access the article through the Psych Rights website or click here: Cults & Psychiatric Treatment
    Ms. Harris’ work is important to me also in that I’ve worked hard to expand my community’s understanding of madness, given that the boundaries around “normalcy” has become increasingly narrow. My staff and I organized the school’s first Unbound: Celebrating Emotional Liberation. This multi-media art installation showcased the heroic narratives of those who have recovered from/transcended labels that bind us.
    Perhaps, we could bring Ms Harris to UNCSA for next year’s program?!?
    Thank you for your good work.
    Tom Murray
    Director of Counseling and Testing Services
    University of North Carolina School of the Arts
    Winston-Salem, NC

  3. i was directed to this great site by my publisher…my new book of poems details some of the good and bad experiences i’ve had with the realm of psychiatry…please let me know if anyone would like to look at the poems!! and keep on doin it!

    1. Hi Matthew

      I would love to read some of your poems. I am always looking to be inspire by the works of other survivors. Thank you for offering.



    2. That’s great Matthew – feel free
      to leave your email address for people to contact you.

  4. Can someone send me in the right direction to view the Esmond Green video mentioned? I can’t find it on the web anywhere.

  5. THanks will for the lunatic fringe blog link… awesome blog…

  6. I loved what Leah had to say on righteous anger… and it becoming toxic to the host, which is the word I’ll use for the people who have had the anger injected into them by psychiatry’s atrocities….

    A whole show on anger would be great. I’ve learned a lot from death row exonerees… and gitmo survivors….

    (their writing, not personally)…

    I think we survivors of coercive psychiatry are so alone in our communities, our experiences so extreme and not often shared by our existing friends and family, we can learn from people who have experienced extreme systemic violence in other areas, such as death row, political torture… etc…

    1. I could not have said this any better. Thank you for your comments and especially as you parallelled the experiences of forced psychiatric treatment and its very real psychological similarities to the effects that other extreme system violence such as victims of torture of all kinds endure.

      And thank you to Leah Harris for her work! Wow, I was so moved by her poetry. This gives my artist within permission to get her rage out on the page too and through the use of music as a form of healing.

      Awesome show!


      Jacquie B. Psychiatric Survivor – Ottawa, Canada

  7. Hi, her name was Esmin Green, and there is a lot of information on the internet about her, including an article here from CNN:

    Woman who died on hospital floor called ‘beautiful person’

    The videos of her death on youtube and elsewhere are extremely upsetting, so please be cautious. I personally have heard descriptions of the video, but have not seen it.

    Here is a photo of Esmin:

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