Remembering Darby Penney

Dec 16, 2021

My friend Darby Penney passed recently.  Darby was from New York and was a fierce fighter for human rights in psychiatry. She was formative in the development of the peer workforce and struggled tirelessly to keep the peer role truly peer.  Check out this powerful essay, Who gets to define peer support?

Darby and I worked on many projects over the years. The picture above was taken early in 2000.  We were working on state hospital cemetery restoration projects in MA and NY.  I also had the honor of meeting up with Darby in the attic of Willard State Hospital where Darby had helped discover old suitcases left by former patients. She and her friend Peter Stastney wrote a moving book about the human lives behind those suitcases. Darby also created a traveling exhibit using the suitcases to showcase the humanity of those of us who have been in hospitals and institutions. 

I will miss you Darby. Much honor and respect. Lead on my friend.