You may download a pdf of a 63-page report by the Irish government on "The Adverse Side Effects of Pharmaceuticals," including psychiatric drugs. Several MindFreedom Ireland leaders, including Mary Maddock and John McCarthy, provided oral testimony to the commission.

 Click here to get the file


‘Soul Survivor – A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’ launches today at Nemo Rangers GAA club on Monday, December 11th at 7pm.  Written by Cork couple Mary and Jim Maddock, the book tells the harrowing but ultimately inspiring story of Mary’s involvement with the Psychiatric Establishment over a period of twenty years.  In the Foreword, well-known psychotherapist Dr. Terry Lynch, author  of ‘Beyond Prozac’, states “This book should be required reading in training courses for psychiatrists, G.P.s and all involved in the provision of mental health services.”On leaving the convent after seven years in 1972, Mary had met and married her husband Jim by 1974. Within a further two years, she found herself in Sarsfield Court Psychiatric Hospital, two days after the birth of her daughter.  Heavily medicated and subjected to many sessions of electro-convulsive therapy, it was the beginning of a nightmare that saw her admitted to a further three psychiatric hospitals – the GF wing of Cork University Hospital, St. Anne’s (now Carrigmor) in Cork and St.Patrick’s in Dublin.

Mary was branded a ’manic-depressive’ and put on a cocktail of drugs, including lithium for the next 18 years. Supposedly ‘well’ and out of hospital, in reality she was reduced to a piece of psychiatric flotsam – an overweight, stiff-limbed, kidney-damaged, drooling, tremor-ridden, mind-numbed, middle-aged woman.Then in 1993, a completely fortuitous event marked a turning point in her life.  With the help of people like Dr. Peter Breggin and Dr. Terry Lynch, of organisations like The Cork Advocacy Network and MindFreedom, she began to challenge the orthodox thinking of the Psychiatric Establishment andbegan her brave, slow, scary but ultimately empowering journey of liberation from its clutches.She and Jim now also began to attend conferences, speak out on television and in the press andestablished MindFreedom Ireland. Both are also members of Sli Eile, the Cork Housing Association for former psychiatric patients and today continue their campaign of activism for human rights in the mental health area, specifically in relation to the over-prescription of drugs, forced injections, involuntary detention and the use of electro-convulsive therapy.The launch will be performed by well-known Cork poet and mental health campaigner John McCarthy. ‘Soul Survivor’ (€12.95) is on sale in all good bookshops in Cork and surrounding towns and can also be purchased online at“Mary Maddock is more than a survivor.  She and Jim are trailblazers creating a way out of the messwe have made of psychiatry.”  --  (Kathy Sinnott, Member of the European Parliament.)

Founded in 2004, MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International and with them, campaigns for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system.



The year commenced with the launch of two books.  The first ‘Knowledge in Mental Health – Reclaiming the Social’ was edited by MF Ireland member and University College Cork lecturer Lydia Sapouna in conjunction with Peter Lehmann.  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 appaling 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.


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, Lidia 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 then touring Islamabad.  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, Psychrights 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

Protests were held on Mothers Day, 13 May 2007, in Ireland, Toronto and Montreal. Here are photos and reports from all three.

MindFreedom Ireland Protests Electroshock in Cork on Mother's Day 13 May 2007 in solidarity with protests in Toronto & Montreal.

For report and photo from Toronto protest click here.

For report and photo from Montreal click here.

Here is report and photo from Ireland:

by Mary Maddock, MindFreedom Ireland

The first ever public demonstration against electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in Cork, Ireland took place on Sunday, 13 May 2007 at Daunt Square. Organised by MindFreedom Ireland, who campaign for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system, the demonstration was in solidarity with similar demonstrations in Montreal and Toronto Canada which also took place on Sunday, May 13th. For background information on the Toronto protest including news conference and poster click here.

The day is Mothers Day in the U.S. and Canada and was selected to mark the fact that the greatest number of recipients of ECT are mothers and grandmothers. ECT has been in use since 1938. It involves passing an electric current through the brain of a depressed person who has been anaesthetised, resulting in a ‘grand mal’ seizure. It has always been a controversial treatment. Its proponents claim it helps in cases of severe depression but its critics argue that it causes permanent brain damage and memory loss and is often ‘threatened’ on a patient or administered without proper informed consent. Every year, over 1000 people are given ECT in Ireland. The demonstration heard first hand testimonies from a number of recipients of ECT, including Mary Maddock, founder-member of MindFreedom Ireland. Other speakers were Kathy Sinnott, independent MEP, Dan Boyle TD and John McCarthy, independent health candidate in the upcoming election.

For more photos of the MindFreedom Ireland protest go to:

The Irish Times published this report [corrected]:

Tuesday 14 May 2007

Protesters urge cessation of electro convulsive shock therapy in State

by Michelle McDonagh

A complete ban on the use of electro convulsive shock therapy (ECT) in Ireland was called for at a public demonstration against the treatment held in Cork city yesterday.

A small group of some 30 people, including former ECT patients, turned out in the pouring rain to voice their opposition to the controversial treatment.

The demonstration, which was held at Daunt Square, was organised by human rights group MindFreedom Ireland.

Director of the advocacy group Mary Maddock, who describes herself as an "ECT survivor", called for a total ban on the therapy which she said caused her to suffer memory loss and other problems.

"Two-thirds of those who get ECT are women. Mothers and grandmothers are the chief recipients of ECT. We held our public demonstration in conjunction with ... two other protests in Montreal and Toronto also today, which is [Mother's] Day in Canada," she explained.

The event was attended by Cork MEP Kathy Sinnott who said some 800 people receive the treatment every year in Ireland. Independent health candidate for Cork North Central, John McCarthy, said the practice should be completely banned.



Helena King, Greg White, Dr. Terry Lynch, Dr. Peter Breggin and Cork Advocacy Network all played their part in the genesis of MindFreedom Ireland.  It was their raising of a critical psychiatric consciousness in the early years of the new millennium that led to a connection being established with MindFreedom International the U.S. and it’s Director, David Oaks. Originally know as Support Coalition International, David Oaks had built up the Organisation to be in the Vanguard of the struggle for a non-violent revolution in the Mental Health System both in the U.S. and around the world.  A psychiatric survivor himself, David Oaks today leads a coalition of over 100 like-minded groups. MindFreedom Ireland was founded in 2003 when a small group of approximately 15 people met in the house of Helena Kind in Cork for the inaugural meeting.  Vowing to be as truly democratic as possible and eschewing any hierarchical bureaucracy, it was agreed that Mary Maddock, another psychiatric survivor, would act as a liaison person with David Oaks and MindFreedom International.  Today MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International with whom we share our Mission Statement, in addition to campaigning in a specifically Irish context. MF Ireland works to win human rights and alternatives for people labelled with psychiatric disabilities. 


MindFreedom Ireland Vision:  


Our vision is a non-violent revolution in “Mental Health Care”. 


MindFreedom Goals:          


Win human rights campaign in “Mental Health”  Challenge abuse by psychiatric drug industry  Support the self-determination of psychiatric survivors and “mental health” consumers  Promote safe, humane and effective options in 'mental health'


MF Ireland endeavours to promote activism, advocacy, peaceful protest, public education, mutual support, lobbying, organising and never giving up on our dream: Equal opportunity of emotional well-being for all. 

While most of us are psychiatric survivors, we are open to all who support human rights including psychiatric professionals, advocates, family members and the general public. MF Ireland is one of the very few totally independent groups in the “mental health” field with zero funding from the Mental Health System, Government, Religious organisations or drug companies MF Ireland supports informed choice in “mental health Care”.  Some of our members choose to take psychiatric drugs, more do not.  We are united in saying “NO” to human rights violations by psychiatric drugging, drug companies often use fraud to promote their products.  The public is sold a myth of chemical imbalance.  There is no scientific proof of a genetic or biological basis for any psychiatric diagnosis. MF Ireland calls for a full range of voluntary, humane and safe alternatives for all who choose to use them.  These options should include mutual support, jobs, housing, peer-run programmes, nutrition, advocacy, quality counselling and other more holistic approaches. 


MindFreedom Ireland Record to date: 


Since our establishment in 2003, MF Ireland has achieved the following:    


Established links with both the European Network of ex/users and survivors of psychiatry (ENUSP) and the World Network of ex/users and survivors of psychiatry  Supported the petition and signature gathering campaign “We Deserve to Know the Truth about Psychiatric Drugs” organised by Nuria O’Mahony  Given evidence to the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Health which published it’s report on “The Adverse Effects of Psychiatric Drugs” in 2007  Conducted an on-going letter writing campaign in the National Press on “Mental Health” issues  Participated in RTE programmes Prime Time, The Big Bite, The Afternoon Show, Would you Believe, The TV3 documentary “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” and on national radio stations with the Pat Kenny Show, Matt Cooper’s Show The Last Word, the Right Hook and Spirit Moves  Mounted educational exhibitions and information stands at conferences in Ireland, United Kingdome, Germany, Denmark and the United States  Made Submissions to the Mental Health Commission, The Expert Group and the “Vision for Change” Blueprint  Liased with independent MEP Kathy Sinnott in making submissions to the EU Green Paper on “Mental Health”  Established collaborative links with the international network towards alternatives and recovery (INTAR), PyschRights in Alaska, The Soteria Network in the UK, the Campaign against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) in Canada and Patients’ Rights Advocacy in New Zealand  Formed a close alliance with Asylum, the UK organisation for Democractic Psychiatry and its “Campaign for the Abolition of the Schizophrenic Label”(CASL)  Represented by John McCarthy at the UN Ad-Hock Committee on Disability in New York  Through the good offices of Greg White, facilitated the establishment and inaugural meeting of the “Hearing Voices Ireland Network” in Cork November 2006  Organised the first ever Anti-Electro Shock Public Protest in Ireland May, 2007 


Finally, MF Ireland will strive to do all that it can to educate the public about the many short comings of the current psychiatric “Medical/Domination Model” of treatment and to alert them to the often hidden or played down effects of so called medication.  We will do all that we can to highlight the human rights abuses which occur daily in the current system – the involuntary detentions, the forced injections and the use of ECT.  We will continue to support existing alternatives such as leisure centres, yoga classes, etc. and will lobby and campaign for further safe and effective ways of dealing with emotional suffering and distress