Working Like Crazy

An estimated 85 percent of people labeled "mentally ill" are unemployed, and often viewed as incapable of working: hopeless, helpless, maybe dangerous besides. Working Like Crazy challenges these stereotypes. This is a fresh, engaging look at the struggles and victories of six former mental health patients. Though once labeled "unemployable," they now work in businesses run and staffed by other psychiatric survivors: places where they can make a living, rebuild their lives, connect with others, and contribute to society. From tears to laughter, isolation to friendship, rejection to acceptance, their stories offer an illuminating glimpse of this complex community.

Most psychiatric survivors who've been through the mental health system face poverty, housing challenges and unemployment. But the six who are profiled here have survived by creating their own jobs, training and support systems. These productive people are part of a unique community overseen by the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses.

Laura Hall's incredible journey has taken her from the isolation of a psychiatric hospital to executive director of a courier business.

Diana Capponi has transformed the grief and rage of family violence into a passion for justice as the director of the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses (OCAB).

Courier Susan Ashby's love of animals has transformed her in the eyes of the neighbourhood children from the "cuckoo lady" to the "rat lady", a title she much prefers.

Patricia Fowler is surprises to have lived into her 40s. But she has fought a crushing sense of worthlessness to become indespensable as OCAB's administrative assistant.

Scott Benness was told by the vocational rehabiltation counsellors that he could do nothing. Now he's proving them wrong.

Graham Brown uses his work to fight against depression and sleeping his life away. It's all part of his plan, "the plan to get back to being a man."

Publication Date: 
Boston, Massachusetts, USA