"Is it OK if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. A legal scholar, Saks came forward in 2007 with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately.
About Elyn Saks
Saks asks bold questions about how society treats people with mental illness. As a mental health law scholar and writer, she speaks for the rights of mentally ill people. It's a gray area: Too often, society's first impulse is to make decisions on their behalf. But it's a slippery slope from in loco parentis to a denial of basic human rights. Saks has brilliantly argued for more autonomy — and in many cases, for a restoration of basic human dignity.
In 2007, deep into her career, she dropped a bombshell — her autobiography, The Center Cannot Hold. In it, she reveals the depth of her own schizophrenia, now controlled by drugs and therapy. Clear-eyed and honest about her own condition, the book lent her new ammunition in the quest to protect the rights and dignity of the mentally ill.