Founded in 2003, MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International and with them, campaigns for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system.
MINDFREEDOMIRELAND REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2007
The year commenced with the launch of two books. The first ‘Knowledge in Mental Health – Reclaiming the Social’ written by University College Cork lecturer Lydia Sapouna . The second ‘Soul Survivor – A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’ by Mary and Jim Maddock was launched by active disability campaigner Kathy Sinnott, MEP in Dublin in January, an event also attended by Tim O’Malley, the Irish government minister with responsibility for mental health and Grainne Humphrys (along with Josh, MF Ireland’s youngest member) who read her wonderful poem. In April, the Irish government Report on the Adverse Effects of Pharmaceuticals was published. MF Ireland members John McCarthy, Greg White, Mary Maddock and especially Nuria O’Mahony had given evidence at the earlier committee hearings and helped in no small way in highlighting the issue. Plans are afoot to organise a follow-up conference in U.C.C. in the autumn of 2008.
A media campaign in which MF Ireland members spoke on national radio and had letters and articles published in the national press continued throughout the year. Linking with the media campaign, John McCarthy stood as a candidate in the general election held in May. Many MF Ireland members formed part of his election campaign team and while John failed to win a seat, he succeeded in focusing media and political attention on health issues in general and ’mental health’ issues in particular. In addition, new member Lidia Walsh spoke very eloquently on Newstalk, the national talk radio station while another significant success was the dropping of an offensive advertisement from the national press due to representations made by MF Ireland in conjunction with Depression Dialogues.
A highlight of the year was Ireland’s first electroshock public protest held in solidarity with similar protests in Canada and the U.S in May. Despite appalling weather conditions on the day, the event attracted support from a number of politicians including Green party TD Dan Boyle. A special thanks is due to Mel O’Dea and Tim Nyhan for organising the electroshock facts and statistics leaflets and to Martin Hynes and Colette Ni Dhuinneacha who made their maiden public speeches on the issue. A prominent report on the protest was carried in The Irish Times of the following day.
CONFERENCES AND EVENTS.
MF Ireland was represented at a number of conferences both at home and abroad throughout the year. These included the Cork Advocacy Network conference on Mental Health and the Law, the WPA conference in Dresden in June, the unforgettable Wisdom House 3 day conference ‘Creative Revolution; Turning our Minds Around’ in Connecticut in July, the Dublin City University ‘Health4Life’ conference in September and the Manchester Recovery conference in November. On World Mental Health Day in October, MF Ireland members Martin Hynes, Maria O’Mahony, Lydia Walsh and Mary Maddock manned the MF Ireland information stand in UCC while on the same day Colette Ni Dhuinneacha and John McCarthy represented MF Ireland at the launch of the government’s National Service Users Executive Strategic Plan 2007-2009 in Dublin. A number of other members also spoke in public fora throughout the year. Dorothee Krien and Mel O’Dea spoke at the Mind, Body Spirit conference in Cork while Mary and John did likewise in Dublin.In June Mary and John, on the advice of Kathy Sinnott, Vice-Chair of the Committee, submitted a petition to the European Commission Petitions Committee. Their petition entitled ‘The illegality of Ireland’s Mental Health Act of 2001 as it concerns the forced use of mind-altering drugs on unwilling patients’ was accepted by the Commission in Brussels who have promised to investigate the matter further. MF Ireland established close links with fellow organisations throughout the year, in particular with Patients Rights Advocacy in New Zealand, the Soteria network in Britain, Psych-rights in Alaska, CAPA in Canada and Depression Dialogues in Ireland. Mary Maddock is currently working to encourage the establishment of new MindFreedom International affiliates in other European countries.
MF Ireland would like to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of Dr. Terence McLoughlin, Director of Asylum, whose untimely death occurred in September. Terence was a lifelong campaigner for the rights of the underdog and our good friend. Finally, the year ended on a further poignant note with a remembrance event on December 28 to mark the first anniversary of the death of one of our founder-members, Helena King. It is the unquenchable spirit of Terence and Helena which will sustain us as we commence what we hope will be another successful year.
Jim Maddock,December 31st, 2007.
Sitting on my bed, thinking of life ahead
my heart bursts for it no longer hurts
my wounds are closing for you are so adoring
my soul is awake for it has found its mate
I have screamed for my mum for an eternity it seems
She left me to die for I reflected her lie
I longed for relief from the rejection I felt
deep in my core like a poisonous sore
I am released from her spell but the scar remains
hopefully to reach to others in pain
Two beautiful new poems by Annabel Jessel ( Annabel attends our group 'Stand By Me')Bullshit--Anti-Psychiatry and Anti-Medication Songwww.youtube.comThis song is from my album "Songs from the Locked Ward," written and recorded in the summer of 2009. I wrote it as a testament to the horrors people suffer at the hands of psychiatry---the lack of empathy, ... New Beginningsby Tim Harris build strength to work magicchange the pictureto brilliant from tragiconly limits are those you stateit's your timefeel it's fate a warrior of peacebrilliant light to releasedraw from its wealththe wingspan the stealth that hard road was a giftevery step had its purposetomorrow's load a one hand lift it was what it wasfree from the mazethis is now that was thenclose eyes to gazeevery soul a friend
A Cry in the dark Washing willows on an empty bay mothers frayed internal dexterity candle blackout eternal fragmentary Pardon listeners never hear good of themselves come again a thing of beauty is a joy forever Disturbances; higher mental functions such that no amount of whistling in the dark will ever stop us causing ructions Lydia Walsh - Yildirim
IN THE LOOKING GLASS
Rags and bags.
You look away with your third eye.
Bags and rags.
You look at the blue sky.
Third eye raised,
looking away from the ass in the glass,
away from the "depraved crazed",
away from your behind in the mirror farting gas.
You are unaware that they are conscious.
"No self awareness in their third eye,"
is the consensus,
of people marching by,
"the lesser than us."
You've reduced them to...
- a "mentally ill" biological substrate,
- the lesser than you,
- the unworthy of inalienable rights fate.
- You deny that their hunger pained feelings of starvation is true.
To you, the one in the mirror's life doesn't rate!
By Harry Bentivegna Lichtenstein
August 1, 2009
ELECTROCONVULSIVE SHOCK THERAPY? (ECT)
ECT is no more therapeutic than,
bashing skulls more,
or less forcefully (gentler?),
irrespective of gender,
with a sledge hammer,
Sledge Hammer Therapy?, SHT,
from here on pronounced, “shhh… t”,
would be therapy.
Let’s try to imagine the victim’s experience:
L O S T M E M O R I E S,
Painful static electricity like feelings causes enveloping darkness.
The victims are called, “patients”.
Serious injury and torture are called, “therapy”.
Mental dementia and brain damage are called, “side effects”.
Torturers are called, “doctors”.
The electrical current goes on as bodies do shivering dances to it.
And the current goes on.
Is torture ethical?
Is it a civil rights violation?
Can scientific research be used to –
justify and reclassify torture as being therapy?
Should ECT and SHT be legal?
Are new laws necessary?
The answers depend on the time, place,
and legal system we are living under.
ECT is like the emperor who wore no clothes!
Swindlers called themselves, “scientists”.
They dressed it in the big lie of it’s therapeutic value.
“Only the dim witted can’t see it’s clothing,” said the swindlers.
But, ECT is as stark naked as the emperor was!
Whatever it takes,
enforcing or changing laws;
stop the uncivilized use of forced ECT and SHT,
whether it is described as, “harsh” or “gentler”.
Flush the toilet full of ECT and SHT.
April 4, 2009
Completely revised and added to the draft of a poem that I wrote May 28, 2001
2nd revision (1 line), July 4, 2009
By Harry Bentivegna Lichtenstein
Voices Singer Alex/Piano and composer Mary
Song for the Revolution........'SLAVES' Singer Alex/Piano and composer Mary
Behind Enemy LinesFor Brave JohnThey have stripped you of your dignityThey have tried to crush your spiritThey have tried to erase you, invade youAnd claim you as their own experimentThey have tried to stunt your developmentWith mind-numbing, brain dis-abling drugsIn the guise of break-through treatmentThey deny you your basic right to freedomYou are their lucrative label, their last bastionThey clip your wings and dreams with bad medicineThat changes your personality and denies you your painYour humanity, your gifts, your sensitivityThey have treated you like a beast, beneath themYou are so brave to resist, persist and insistThat you do not have a chemical imbalanceYou have fought them all the way with your true storyBattle lines are drawn and their weapon is chemicalYou take the blows and punch them back their labelBefore the syringe is filled and the needle aimedIt takes three of them to hold you down, it’s assaultNon-compliant, treatment-resistant, insistentIn the face of over-whelming cruel powerThey crucify you every time you Remind them of their pseudo-science
Song ( Mary Maddock)
We are notWe are notWe are not your slaves anymoreFind another jobFind another jobFind another job to earn your bobWe will find our libertyWe will not live in miseryWe are not We are notWe are not your slaves anymoreNo more brain damageNo more brain damageNo more brain damage anymoreNo more electroshockNo more electroshock
No more electroshock anymore
The Butterfly of Life
Regina O' Flynn
No one laughs at me
But yet I am a likeable laugh
Everyone gets something
And I got mine
You sail on the crust and cuff of a wave
Now I’m sad
Cos I think my sub conscience
Works in a way that it
Takes a while to understand and feel
Registers the news in my brain
Death affects me so much
And the loss of a life
I’m not the same
I’m two poles in the one body
It’s passed midnight
And the world is asleep
No one to talk to
Only the thoughts in my head
Over and over and over again
I split myself in half and please
Wish I had a midnight friend----Oh God!
As I put this pen to paper
It saddens even more
The racing thoughts in my head
Why me, why me, why me?
Crying will not ease
The road that is ahead
It’s either up or down, which ever
Happens – that is it.
The pain of my heart
Almost stops my breathing.
Yet I would never change
What I am.
The power of one
The moments of life
All the parts of living
Experienced to extremes.
But the sadness is within
Fragile girl – daddiless – without blame
Thank you Jesus
One day I will return to you
The butterfly of life
Each minute seems like an hour
Waiting for the midnight time to pass
No one to talk to
Only the ticking of the clock
The eyes are closing
But yet can’t sleep
Tick, tick, tick…….
Getting sadder from the
Cycle of no sleep and
Wishing time to pass.
Is medication the answer?
The side effects, pain
Is it normal to feel?
To feel sad, to feel afraid
Panic – towards the future
Cannot face the public
Oh – to take a step out of life
And enjoy the dance
And rest in the spirit.
Mouth gets drier
From pills we took – stronger side effects/painful
But yet the angel of sleep
Will not visit.
How pleasant to spend the night
Only with the stars watching
Heavier and heavier become the lids
But no shut eye
Mouth becomes like sandpaper.
Sadder and sadder is the feeling inside
Want to talk to someone
But only Man on the Moon will listen
Jack Frost is gone on a sabbatical
And even Mr. Sunshine will not be here till day.
The butterfly of life.
Whipping Good Memories and Dead Horses by Dean Blehert Despair, when it is, is bottomless, omnivorous,swallowing whatever you throw at it. As your goalsvanish into its maw, you try to kill despair,hurling at it your best memories, your triumphs,your deepest truths, and these too are instantlycoated with sticky black drool. Memories will only stand for so much, and thenthey mutiny: "Don't you remember...?" "NO! Inever loved you, it was never good with you!"An old truth is a slippery anchor in a maelstrom,one more weight to drag us under."But it was good! It was wonderful,remember? Please remember!" So one tells oneself(or so we tell each other) like a teamsterin a blizzard who doesn't realize the horsehe's whipping has frozen to death. Despair owns the walls of the room, each pieceof furniture, your body, the bed, the window,whatever you can see through the window,the texture of whatever you touch --and any wisp of memory you drag into the roomwhere you are stuck, staring at or away from despair. Despair is beaten by not believing what one seemsto know (that this night or week or month or yearis forever), by knowing that it eats anythingyou bring near it, by not feeding it. See that delicate ship hoistingall its bright-colored sails into the dark furyof a storm? See it plow under, all sails flying? No, best to batten down, lie low untilone can move, can see or imagine a way to move,lifting one foot, then the otherand moving in a direction one insists on calling(against all of the nightmare's frantic denials)forward; one finds something to do that one can do --a little thing, tie a shoe, take a walk,clean a room, get out of bed, scratchan itch, listen to the Blues... not some radical puffed-up parody of total solutionurged by despair itself, charged withmelodramatic electricity. Find one thingthat is (if we pretend there can ever again beone thing better than another) better to do thannothing at all, and do it, and gradually -- as chaos resolves into up and down,what is and what is not -- one can do more,begins to feel that the circlesin which one has been moving have, themselves,been moving, like a child's traveling ovals -- one has been getting somewhere, one begins to knowsome things one never knew before,and there are calmer spaces, breaks in blackness,hints of a sky that is not sea, a long arc of horizon,a direction, a future and, therefore, a past,the tingle (uncoaxed) of a few good memories,still dazed, but alive after all,a smell of salty tangled lifethat could be hope. Hindsight Horizon by Lydia Walsh-Yildirim
They called her mellow
Yellow drapers caught the twilight sun
Moonlit ravens making one
Sums it up
The drapers sparkle in delight
Willows lifted, reveal the shadow of a life
Once hiding in corners; bated breath
May call it a living...
Walking in wardrobes
Under care of rotters
Knotted, Mellow’s got the trots now
He’s made it through
The bouts of hollow vacancies
+ bulkmade stew
Rubbernecking round the pew
Voices – let them through
Unshaken silence on fields of barley,
Oats and rye
Demons straiting we’re not standing
The penny drops mind
Freedom fighters united
Ain’t abiding lies nor log rolls
Yellow drapers snatch
The twilight Son
C'est La Unvie by James M. Nordlund A million monarchs lie dead, though, No less sociological programming of Upper-middle to rich classes with Decadence, affluence, inclusion, is. No less societal determination of Middle to lower, being excluded by Division and conquering, privation. Yet, they, on wing no more, still fly In our spirit's eye, heal humanities' Heart. While their silent cry echoes The 33,000 species extinct each year, A rate not seen since the last ice age Ensued; does it move you? Does your curiosity ask why? Will you, on this 33rd Earth Day, allow A tear for all life's fallen? Consider The losses economic apartheid incurs, Mirrored by the divide human-centricity Has levied? Our underlying duplicitous Disregard for life, greed and oil fueled, Won't abate for our existence, will you? ( For the beautiful butterflies, et tu, mon amis, written one and a half years before the 33rd. )
Broken hearts have endless pains
Recorded in the head
The Psychiatric warriors
Plunder the living dead.
The blind are lost, but lead the blind
With salaries immense
They endlessly pontificate
And have no common sense.
Ignoring what the mind can do
With the pain of a broken heart
Lost amid the psyche
They know not where to start.
Baggage labels made by Freud
Are randomly selected
Electric shocks administered
And powerful drugs injected.
Encased in their sarcophagae
The "Citizens Ashamed"
Instead of being cared for
Are very often blamed!
Their mutilated minds have made them
Loners- set apart
No one quite remembers -
They came with a broken heart.
( Poem by Lydia, which she read at the MindFreedom Ireland candle light vigil in honor of Emsin Green R.I.P.)
put me down
the sound of silence
the mound of hell
disaffected, these; infected
the generally unwell
but mounds leap
meek schisms prevail
A poem from Lydia for MindFreedom Ireland
The dark side
on your parade
a bleeding charade
and gown ( ! )
your stocks and bonds
my lock-ins; soul ponders
percieved by the senses
when I don't get nothing
fearing your transferencesshunned, I lunged OFF all stunned but me! Humility's fragility surprisingly inaccurate surmising dangerously reactive con the conjecture Mindfreedom heed em' ellipses un bray cable
More poetry from Lydia--------Poetry in motion!
Some sage sed
As one door closes behind you
opens before you
(and closes again)
locks thee in den
to your inn
may win the lock in
obviously sent to the looney bin
opens before you
then locks behind you
'cos i made a tactical boo-boo
on a spiralling roller-coaster
could find holier hosts too
Quest- on candid camera
2 fingers; the whinges
rustling keys, bustling dreams
on your knees
stay with it
ruby red roasts
may be quiet
knock on heavens door
on carraig moor
Photo of Helena with some MindFreedom Ireland members.
It was take soon after MindFreedom Ireland was formed. Helena is second from the right.
It is now over three years since Helena’s spirit has finally found freedom. She is free at last. She was a spirited, intelligent and loving woman, who above all was full of integrity and never could accept that her low self esteem and powerlessness was a ‘mental illness’. She was tortured over, and over again, by the mental health system, which refused to listen and always treated her and abused her with psychotropic drugs and electroshock.
Over the years her personality changed from a spirited woman to a helpless and hopeless broken repeated record convincing herself she was worthless. For the last six long years of her life, she spent most of her time locked away in Carrig Mor secure psychiatric hospital in Cork. I visited her on a regular basis and spent many long hours with Helena. Most of that time she was chemically lobotomised by a neuroleptic called risperdal. This was very evident to me, because I spent so much time with Helena and I knew what it was like to be lobotomised myself. I visited and spoke to her psychiatrists and told them this important truth, even when it was very difficult to arrange these meetings, but none of them would listen and insisted on their treatment over and over again.
I hope Helen’s life will not be in vain but will help to convince the present Mental Health System of the error of it’s ways and how much destruction it is prepared to do in the name of help. Helena did not receive the help she wanted but instead was forced to receive harm, disguised as help, she did not want. I know it would be her dying wish that finally depression would be seen and understood as, in her own very important words “a suffering of the soul which encompasses the mind and the body rendering one helpless and hopeless”Helena may you finally rest in peace.
Your loving friend,
This Song could be a tribute to Helena.Bullshit--Anti-Psychiatry and Anti-Medication Song This song is from my album "Songs from the Locked Ward," written and recorded in the summer of 2009. I wrote it as a testament to the horrors people suffer at the hands of psychiatry---the lack of empathy, ...
Robert Whitaker, a former Boston Globe reporter, was curious about why there has been such a large increase of disabling mental illness in the United States. His book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (Crown Publishers, 2010), begins with these data points: in 1987, the U.S. mental illness disability rate was 1 in every 184 Americans, but by 2007 the mental illness disability rate had more than doubled to 1 in every 76 Americans.
During this same time period, there has also been a huge increase in psychiatric drug use. Prior to 1988 when Prozac hit the market, the annual U.S. gross for antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs was less than $1 billion, but today those two classes of psychiatric drugs alone gross more than $25 billion a year in the United States. The question for Whitaker was: is it just a coincidence that disabling mental illness and psychiatric drug use have been rapidly increasing at the same time?
Whitaker does not discount cultural factors that may have something to do with this dramatic increase in mental illness disability. However, he discovered that the most scientifically identifiable factor for the increase of severe psychiatric problems is the increase in psychiatric drug use. He identified a frightening trend: long-term psychiatric drug use has caused children and adults with minor emotional problems to have severe and chronic disorders that result in mental illness disabilities.
How Psychiatric Drugs Create Chronic Illness
Whitaker examined the scientific literature over the last 50 years with respect to 2 related questions. First, do psychiatric medications alter the long-term course of mental disorders for better or for worse? Specifically, do they increase the likelihood that a person will be able to function well over the long-term or do they increase the likelihood that a person will end up on disability? Second, how often do patients with a mild disorder have a bad reaction to an initial psychiatric drug that can lead to long-term disability? For example, how frequently does a person with a mild bout of depression become manic in reaction to an antidepressant and is then diagnosed with bipolar disorder?
He discovered that while psychiatric medications can, for some people, be effective over the short term, these drugs, in long-term use, increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, increasing the possibility that a mild psychological problem will worsen into a debilitating illness. This is especially clear and tragic in the case of children.
Not too long ago, "juvenile bipolar disorder" was very rarely diagnosed, yet today it is increasingly common. Whitaker points out, "When you research the rise of juvenile bipolar illness in this country, you see that it appears in lockstep with the prescribing of stimulants for ADHD and antidepressants for depression.... Once psychiatrists started putting 'hyperactive' children on Ritalin, they started to see prepubertal children with manic symptoms." Increasing numbers of children have also been prescribed antidepressants, such as Prozac, and a significant percentage of these young people have become manic in reaction to their antidepressants.
These frightening manic reactions result in heavy-duty antipsychotic drugs as well as "drug cocktails" made up of multiple psychiatric drugs. Whitaker discovered that a high percentage of these medicated kids end up as "rapid cyclers," which means they have severe bipolar symptoms that put them on a path to be chronically ill throughout their lives. Also, antipsychotics such as Zyprexa cause a host of physical problems, including diabetes. Whitaker concludes, "When you add up all this information, you end up documenting a story of how the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in the United States have been destroyed in this way."
The Failure of the Corporate Media
So why don't Americans know about the severe chronic problems created by long-term psychiatric drug use? One answer is that drug companies and their partners in establishment psychiatry are not disclosing this. The other answer is that mainstream American journalism and government agencies have failed the American people.
Whitaker, a former medical reporter, explains how medical news is typically generated. Major institutions, such as drug companies and government agencies, issue press releases which reporters rely on. If no press releases are issued, most reporters are not aware of any news and nothing is reported. Whitaker, in contrast, did not rely on press releases, but instead investigated the scientific literature and interviewed researchers.
He lists 16 major research studies that reveal a troubling picture for long-term medicated patients and a better picture for non-medicated patients. But when examining the New York Times archives and the LexisNexis database (which covers most U.S. newspapers), Whitaker could not find a single instance where the results of these 16 major studies were accurately reported.
One of these studies, unheard of by most Americans, including most mental health professionals, is a long-term study of schizophrenic patients who were treated with and without psychiatric drugs. The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and was published in 2007 in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders. Research psychologist Martin Harrow at the University of Illinois College of Medicine discovered that after 4.5 years, 39 percent of the non-medicated group were "in recovery" and 60 percent had jobs. In contrast, during that same time period, the condition of the medicated patients worsened, with only 6 percent in recovery and few holding jobs. At the 15-year follow-up, among the non-drug group, only 28 percent suffered from any psychotic symptoms; in contrast, among the medicated group, 64 percent were actively psychotic.
The year that Harrow's study was published, Whitaker reports, "The NIMH issued 89 press releases, many on inconsequential matters. But it did not issue one on Harrow's findings, even though his was arguably the best study of the long-term outcomes of schizophrenia patients that had ever been done in the United States." NIMH, like many U.S. government agencies, is beholden to industry, in this case Big Pharma, through revolving doors of employment.
Activists Win Battle to Get Whitaker Heard
Mainstream reviews of Anatomy of an Epidemic have been, with a few exceptions, conspicuously absent and Whitaker has been granted few mainstream media interviews. Moreover, at least one U.S. government agency has attempted to silence him, but people are fighting back and, in at least one case, winning.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), since 1985, has provided a grant to fund the Alternatives Conference, which brings together several hundred mental health consumers from throughout the United States. Alternatives Conference organizers in 2010 confirmed an invitation with Robert Whitaker as the keynote speaker. However, on July 15, 2010, organizers reported that Whitaker's confirmation was retracted, saying they had received objections from U.S. government higher-ups.
The good news is that a grass-roots protest resulted in SAMHSA reversing its retraction and Whitaker was reinstated as the keynote speaker at the Alternatives 2010 Conference scheduled for September 29 through October 3 in Anaheim, California. The effective activism was spearheaded by MindFreedom, an organization composed of "psychiatric survivors" committed to reforming mental health treatment by providing Americans with truly informed choice and a variety of treatment options. Neither MindFreedom nor Whitaker are anti-drug. Both simply want Americans to be aware of the extensive body of research telling us that long-term psychiatric drug use has been, for many of its recipients, a bad idea. In the solutions section of Anatomy of an Epidemic, Whitaker describes how doctors in northern Finland use antipsychotic drugs sparingly and in an extremely selective, cautious manner when treating first-episode psychotic patients. Also, a variety of alternative therapies are provided and treatment decisions are made jointly with patients and their families. The results? "The long-term outcomes are," Whitaker notes, "by far, the best in the Western World."
The battle is clear. Will Anatomy of an Epidemic, like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, alert the nation to a tragedy created by an industry's arrogant use of chemicals? Or will those who are profiting from the status quo be able to silence Whitaker and bury his book?