Inside The Mental
Silence, Stigma, Psychiatry, and LSD
ISBN: 9780889774117
Series: The Regina Collection 3
Year: 2016
Pages: 158
Binding: Casebound with dust jacket

"A revelatory account of the importance that psychiatric treatment and research from the 1950s has for mental health today." Jean Freeman, author of Fists Upon a Star

Before she became a psychiatric nurse at "The Mental" in the 1950s, Kay Parley was a patient there, as were the father she barely remembered and the grandfather she'd never met. Part memoir, part history, and beautifully written, Inside The Mental offers an episodic journey into the stigma, horror, and redemption that she found within the institution's walls.

Now in her nineties, Parley looks back at the emerging use of group therapy, the advent of patients' rights, evolving ethics in psychiatry, and the amazing cast of characters she met there.

She also reveals her role in groundbreaking experiments with LSD, pioneered by the world's leading researchers at "The Mental" to treat addiction and mental illness.

Table of Contents




Toppling a Monument—9

The Nameless Threats—15

Psychiatric Patient—19


Christmas Comes to The Mental—29

Meeting Grandpa—45

The Torch—57

The Glass of Truth—63


Psychiatric Nurse—79



An Afternoon in the Sun—117


Night of the Red Rug—133


Supporting the Patient on LSD Day—155

The Weyburn That Was—165

About the Author—181

Kay Parley

Now an author and journalist with a weekly syndicated column, Kay Parley was once a patient and psychiatric nurse at the Weyburn Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan. She had her first breakdown while working at the CBC in Toronto.
"Her story relies on her colourful writing style, her depiction of lively characters and her sympathetic rendering of an often forgotten place-Saskatchewan's provincial mental hospital at Weyburn."
Erica Dyck, Literary Review of Canada
"Kay Parley brings experience as both psychiatric patient and nurse."
Sue Carter, Quill & Quire
"Parley's memoir leaves the reader craving more detail on many of the issues it raises, including the effectiveness of LSD treatments and Parley's own recurring illness, which has been labelled at different times as multiple personality, schizophrenia, and manic-depressive psychosis."
Paul Gessell, Quill & Quire
Kay Parley, a former patient of the then-Weyburn Mental Hospital in Weyburn, Sask., remembers her time there as the best thing that ever happened to her.
Parley is 93-years-old now and her story from both sides of the gurney is in her book, Inside The Mental: Silence, Stigma, Psychiatry and LSD.
Anna Maria Tremonti, CBC The Current
Parley effectively describes the hospital's attempts to experiment with LSD as a legitimate and seemingly promising therapeutic tool, prior to psychiatry being forced to abandon the drug due to its increasingly negative public image.
Best Book, Author, Publisher Weekly
What I liked about it all was the way it built empathy on the part of staff who took it. They learned so much more about relating to patients and I think even relating to each other-Kay Parley
Ashley Martin , Regina Leader-Post
To publish a book at 93 is a major accomplishment, and Parley should be proud of her frank confessions on a sensitive topic and her still activist stance on government and societal responsibility. And her assessment of the late-60s and how the hippies outside made mental patients on the inside look is hilarious and terrifically insightful. Kudos to Kay Parley.
Bill Robertson , Saskatoon StarPheonix
The Creative Industries Transition Fund is made possible through funding that was provided to the Saskatchewan Arts Board by the Government of Saskatchewan through the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.