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Bed Push Tips

Rufus in England has helped organize several successful "Bed Pushes," where a group in costume pushes a bed (often with a manequin tied down in four-point restraint) through the streets, escaping from the psychiatric system. The Bed Pushes in UK have won national publicity on the BBC. Now Bed Pushes are planned in Germany, Canada and the USA.


Recipe For a Mad Pride "Bed Push"



Photo of UK Bed Push Showing Mad Prideby Rufus in England

Bed Push Ingredients:

  • A series of planning meetings with the people interested taking part
  • A hospital bed with good wheels. We used what is called a "porters bed" in the UK. A porters bed is a narrow bed with strong wheels used for moving patients around a hospital. We got our bed from outside of a hospital where luckily they were throwing them away. A porters bed tends to have strong wheeels by necessity. So far ours has lasted 130 miles across the three bed pushes here in England. In the UK you can also buy hospital beds second hand on the Internet (such as on Ebay). If you can't get a bed with strong wheels it may involve adapting a bed by someone who has good mechanical skills. I suppose you could also adapt a cart to make it look like a hospital bed. Someone who has technical skills or is good at art and craft will be really handy.
  • Pyjamas.
  • A giant syringe. You can make this, artists can help here.
  • A good leaflet.
  • Somebody to send news releases to local newspapers, radio, TV and chase them up.
  • Take a picture of what you might look like for the news release.
  • Have some people willing to talk to the press about the experience of forced treatment and the alternatives.
  • Organise accomodation if it is a long journey, such as camping, friends' houses, cheap accomodation.
  • A loud horn for blowing everytime you start to push the bed a bit further (good for morale).
  • A megaphone for telling people what you are doing on the journey. Use humour, "We have escaped the psychiatric hopital!" "We are mad, but they are madder!"
  • A map! Use roads where you can. It's important to (peacefully) disrupt the traffic... this is an important human rights issue!
  • A sound system at times can be good for morale.
  • Songs such as "All you need is love," Madness songs, etc.
  • A party at the end of the bedpush, with speeches, samba band music, cake, drumming, dancing, etc


We will be happy to put pictures notices, and stories about the bedpushes on the bedpush website www.bedpush.com.

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Cookie Gant

Cookie (1949 - 2003) was a founder of MindFreedom International's coalition, and was a rolling coalition herself: African American lesbian disabled psychiatric survivor artist photographer! Cookie served on the MFI board for several years, and co-founded MindFreedom Michigan. (Photo by Tom Olin at an MFI international strategy conference.)
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