14 October 2011Hi MindFreedom Member, I know many of you, like me, are fascinated by and supportive of the historic, peaceful "Occupy Movement" that began weeks ago in Wall Street, New York City, and has even reached smaller towns, like MFI's hometown here in Eugene, Oregon.MFI is proud to have members with widely diverse backgrounds and perspectives, but I think most of us appreciate the Occupy Movement's support of the disenfranchised.For 25 years MindFreedom International has called for global peaceful revolution. Some considered that 'crazy.' It is great to see so many people talking about that peaceful vision now, too!Perhaps you've heard of the butterfly effect. It's impossible to predict complex things.... But even the flap of a butterfly's wing can influence a hurricane. Perhaps all of your butterfly wings have had some influence here, impossible to say!But the 42-year-old psychiatric survivors liberation 'mad' movement has been about free thought.... 'creative maladjustment'... empowerment... and a vision of peaceful and more humane mental and emotional support for all...Now is the time to live our principles. Given the Climate Crisis, in a way this is a deadline....Tomorrow, Saturday, 15 October, 2011, a number of cities internationally are protesting in solidarity, including OCCUPY EUGENE. There may be a protest or even encampment near you. Apparently activists in more than 700 cities may participate this weekend.In my 35 years of activism, I have not quite seen anything like this. If you can't be at a rally for whatever reason, consider how in your own way you may "Boycott Normal"! This past Monday MFI successfully launched that campaign with a street protest, that also supported the Occupy Movement. You can see the fun Youtube skit we did, here:http://www.mindfreedom.org/campaign/boycott-normalHow do you feel the MindFreedom International community can best support the emerging Occupy Movement?I'm open to your ideas and suggestions, which you can email in. Some ways to join a dialogue with other members on this include: ** Find out more about Occupy actions via Google, Facebook, etc. ** Network with other MFI members about this, via MFI lists and Facebook. Attend events together. MFI's board president, Celia Brown, is planning to attend the original protest, Occupy Wall Street.* Several of you are or will attend local Occupy organizing events. You can email your report and photo to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or share them via Facebook, etc.* At Occupy Eugene we are encouraging a PEER SUPPORT SPACE, to provide some respite and mutual support info. We're also looking into doing some of our street theater to help morale!* MFI's web radio show last week was on theme of the Occupy movement -- or as we put it "Occupy Normal." You can listen to the archive here:http://bit.ly/mfi-radio-201110 (The next radio show on 12 November at 2 pm ET will also cover this, watch for details.)* MFI's next monthly teleconference on Sunday, 23 October, at 4 pm ET will be a little different than past months. We will open this up to MFI members of course, but also to non-members who are attending and supporting Occupy events. The topic will be about how the movement to change mental health and Occupy can work together. Watch for details.We cannot predict what will happen in a few weeks. But I can tell you NOW -- at this MOMENT -- this is an opportunity to model deep change.For all of us who have ever made the personal or group choice to achieve some level of recovery and wellness, despite overwhelming trauma and oppression... We know that choice can be made, now. Whether or not you can get to the encampment, "Boycott Normal" and "Occupy Normal"!Let's all support a vision of nonviolent global revolution. I hope you know Martin Luther King called for an "International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment." You can read about his quotes on our web site:http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-global/iaacmLet's help this IAACM dream come true! As we said in the peace movement, I do know if this can happen. I just know this *must* happen!Lead on! Thanks, David David W. Oaks, Executive Director MindFreedom International454 Willamette, Suite 216 - POB 11284Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USAweb: http://www.mindfreedom.orgemail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. phone: 541-345-9106 fax: 480-287-8833member services toll free in USA: 1-877-MAD-PRID[e] or 1-877-623-7743Unite for a Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health. Donate: http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

100 words why this person should win this award

I should win this award purely because the cause I am fighting for is the most important cause for those in the mental health system.  My cause is for the abolition of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT - electroshock to the brain). ECT machines have never been independently inspected or approved for medical safety. ECT can cause brain damage, permanent memory loss, learning disabilities and other intellectual impairments and even death. ECT often causes fear in patients and can aggravate or trigger depression and suicide attempts. Patients are often not fully informed about the procedure's potential harmful effects.

 

Part two

800 words what makes this persons contribution so important/special/unique

Even though I work full time and have two children in full time education and care for my brain damaged husband I take time to campaign for the abolition of electroconvulsive therapy.  As I concentrate specifically on this one issue I can be more targeted in my approach.

I am not and have never been mentally ill though I was sectioned under the mental health act two years ago due to poor communication and poor procedures at the hospital. (It did not help that the staff abused me and broke my arm the same day as my admission and refused treatment for 14 hours – they settled out of court). I am still fighting the health authority to clear my name. 

I started campaigning against ECT after a nurse threatened me with ECT on the ward and I determined that no-one should ever feel that fear.  When I came out of hospital I read up on ECT and found out how damaging it was and how many people were being given ECT against their will especially helpless elderly women and sometimes children.  Shortly afterwards I found out that the FDA (USA) who had never tested ECT machines were being pressurised by psychiatrists to move ECT machines from class III (dangerous) to class II ( as dangerous as a wheelchair)!  Something had to be done and I started in earnest.

I tackled my local health authority when I heard they were revising their patient ECT leaflet which was wholly inadequate.  I gave them my suggestions and spoke out about it (and their inadequate consent form) at five Governors meetings and wrote to the Chief Medical Officer. I also confronted him at a Governor’s meeting.  They said they would conduct a review of the ECT services and eventually closed one unit down. I still haunt them.

Every day I try to learn something new in my campaign.  I have read many books and read extensively on the internet.  I have joined various groups such as ‘Mind Freedom International’ and ‘Speak Out Against Psychiatry’. The latter group is new and so far has a facebook presence. I feature in a video (on facebook) when we protested outside the Royal College of Psychiatry. I pass information to these groups and converse with people as far afield as Australia as this is a worldwide problem.  ‘Mind Freedom’ has a ‘shield’ program where people who are being forced to have ECT can ask the group for help and we all galvanise as one.

Even though I am soon to be 57 years old I have embraced new technology and recently started tweeting. I have Google Alerts for key ECT words so I keep up-to-date with what is going on.  I enter comments on the net under blogs, news items and yahoo questions.  I have recently started a UK Government e-petition calling for the abolition of ECT. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16278 I advertise this via business cards and also posters on my bicycle (as well as on the web).

I am not nominating myself for me I am nominating myself so that this gets into the public domain as nothing will happen until the public are behind us.  Most people think that ECT was banned years ago. How wrong they are.  Psychiatrists tell patients that it is not like the past.  Of course muscle paralysers and anaesthetics make the procedure less daunting to watch and bones are rarely broken however the damage of 400 volts for up to 8 seconds still courses through the brain and the body.  The electricity has to be turned up higher to overcome the anaesthetic so is actually more damaging.

 

People that are having or have had ECT are unlikely to be able to defend themselves against more forced ECT and so need healthy people to fight for them.  This is such an important campaign. ECT could happen to anyone.  One poor woman in the UK with no mental illness gave birth and started hallucinating. They gave her ECT before someone realised they had given her triple her usual medication which was causing the hallucinations.  She was terribly damaged. http://ectstatistics.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/a-cautionary-tale/  

People can lose memories of years of their lives, lose their education, lose their musical ability and lose the ability to learn anything new or be able to think like they used to. They can become emotionally blunted.  Here are some testimonials from all over the world that have been copied from the FDA docket. http://www.electricshocktherapy.info/more-victims-and-specialists-speak-out.html (This website is run by a man in Australia who had to save his mother from ECT).

Here is the original FDA docket containing those testimonials.

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;rpp=10;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;D=FDA-2010-N-0585

Electroconvulsive therapy should be banned like lobotomy. It disables people permanently.  If you are weaned off psychiatric drugs you can almost totally recover but with ECT the damage is permanent.

 

 

Regards

Cheryl Prax

 

Please sign this UK Government ‘Abolish Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Electroshock’ e-petition and relegate ECT to the history books like lobotomy.

To sign you must be a UK citizen (can live abroad) or resident (normally live in the UK)

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16278

We need 100,000 signatures to be debated in Parliament. Please pass on, thank you.

@CherylPrax

 

MindFreedom Ireland submission on proposed changes to the                                  Mental Health Act 2001.     “Mental illness” means a state of mind of a person which affects the person's thinking, perceiving, emotion or judgment and which seriously impair the mental function of the person to the extent that he or she requires care or medical treatment in his or her own interest or in the interest of other persons.”  Mental Health Act 2001   Under the Mental Health Act 2001, Irish citizens can be forced to receive medical treatment that may not be for their own good.  They can be forced to receive electroshock that can cause brain damage and dysfunction without any beneficial effects whatsoever.  They can be forced to receive psychotropic drugs which have serious life threatening effects for some and can even cause violence while lobotomies are allowed to be performed if the person is willing to be brain damaged.   In order to force treat innocent victims all that is required is the approval of two psychiatrists.  Most Irish psychiatrists are happy to force treat people even though unlike  other medical doctors, they have no test (blood test, scan or x-ray) to verify that anyone indeed has a’ mental illness’.     If a person is sick because she/he has diabetes the doctor can perform a test to prove it exists and prescribe the appropriate treatment.  If the person does not want the treatment she/he has the right to refuse it even though it might cause serious harm to do so including death for some.  However psychiatrists who diagnose people as ‘mentally ill’, with no evidence to prove it exists, have the outrageous power to brain damage people in the name of ‘help’.   Criminals are innocent until proven guilty, yet those who are deemed ‘mentally ill’ on the word of two psychiatrists do not have the right to defend themselves.  They do not have the right to have an advanced directive respected under the law.  Those diagnosed as ‘mentally ill’ are treated as sub human - as non persons - as people who do not have the same human/civil rights as other citizens.  The Mental Health Act of 2001 makes sure they are denied their human/civil rights.   "Currently, a 77-year-old woman is receiving a course of electric shock treatment (ECT) against her will and against the will of her family at Limerick’s psychiatric unit.   The woman is believed to be seriously depressed, but does not think the treatment is benefiting her and has expressed this opinion. It is understood she has already had the controversial treatment at least 10 times.   A family member told the Irish Examiner that they had written to the woman’s doctor and the hospital stating that they did not want the woman to have this treatment in accordance with her own wishes.   The case once again highlights the power of psychiatrists who can overrule patients and families when it comes to making decisions about treatment" Irish Examiner 7th October, 2011. http://wnusp.rafus.dk/wnusp-realeases-statement-on-the-implications-of-the-crpd-on-forced-treatment.html       "I have heard first hand what ‘ECT’ can do to an individual and that it seldom works in the long term.  Patients, or perhaps more aptly 'victims' are often severely traumatised by the experience and left with memory gaps, which don't seem to improve over time.”  Shirli Walker   If the Mental Health Act 2001 did not give so much power to those who believe there is only one way to view psychosocial problems and enshrine that in the law,  then Sherli Walker would  not have to make the above statement.   MindFreedom Ireland  Phone no. 021 4894303 www.mindfreedomireland.com www.mindfreedom.org www.wnusp.org

MEDICATING HUMAN DISTRESS: CONCERNS, CRITIQUES AND SOLUTIONS’ 

16 AND 17 NOVEMBER 2011

A Two-Day Conference organised by the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork and the Critical Voices Network Ireland

 

Time: 9.00 – 17.00

Registration: Wednesday 16 November from 9.15 – 10.00 am. Thursday 17 November from 8.15 - 9.00 am

Venue: Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

 

The conference will address and consider:

the use of medication as the dominant response to distress in mental health care

medication withdrawal concerns, strategies and solutions

creative and enabling non-medicated ways of working.

 

This free two-day conference provides people from diverse backgrounds (self-experience, survivors, professionals, academics, carers) to present, discuss and debate critical and creative perspectives on and beyond the dominant bio-medical approach.  Last year’s conference saw the launch of the Critical Voices Network Ireland (CVNI), a network of people interested in considering and developing responses to human distress, which are creative, enabling, respectful and firmly grounded in human rights. The conference will include an open forum to discuss the on-going work of the CVNI.

 

Keynote Speakers (in alphabetical order): Jacqui Dillon ( Chair of the Hearing Voices Network, Director of Intervoice, voice hearer, author of Experiencing Psychosis, England; Jacqui will give the opening address ), Anna Emmanouilidou (Clinical Psychologist, Hellenic Mental Health and Research Centre, Greek Observatory for human rights in the mental health field, Greece), Peter Lehmann (Publisher, social scientist, survivor of psychiatry, author of Coming off psychiatric drugs and Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry, Germany), Eleanor Longden (Voice hearer, PhD student, coordinator of the Intervoice Scientific Committee, England), Terry Lynch (Medical doctor and psychotherapist,  author of Selfhood and Beyond Prozac, Ireland), Sami Timimi (Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, founder of the International Critical Psychiatry Network and of the 'No More Psychiatric Labels' Campaign, author of A Straight-talking Introduction to Children’s Mental Health Problems, England)

 

Workshop Presenters (in alphabetical order): Gerardine Boyle, Patrice Campion, Michelle Dalton, Jacqui Dillon (England), Pauline Dolan, Suzanne Engelen (Netherlands), Donna English, Harry Gijbels, Maria Gillen, Joan Hamilton, Raphaella Heaslip, Anita Hegarty, Kay Inckle, Yasmin Khan, Peter Lehmann (Germany), Angie Lindenau, Eleanor Longden (England), Mary Maddock, Liam Minogue, Benny McCabe, John McCarthy, Fiona Morrissey, Jacquie Nicholson (Scotland), Kevin O’Shanahan, Rudie Pamer, Nicki Power, Shula Ramon (England), Doug Ross, Lydia Sapouna, Valerie Walsh, Alastair Yarrow.

 

Registration by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please make sure you give your name, and indicate the day(s) you wish to attend (either Wednesday 16 November, Thursday 17November, or both days).

 

Programme details will be on www.ucc.ie/en/nursingmidwifery/NewsEvents/ and www.ucc.ie/en/appsoc  within next few weeks. Check http://www.ucc.ie/academic/govern/publin/Hotels.html for accommodation. To get to Brookfield (UCC) check http://www.ucc.ie/en/visitors/getting-here/ Parking facilities limited around UCC. Try car park next to Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross (10 walk from venue via footbridge behind Western Gate Way Building on Western Road). Coffees and lunches not included. There are restaurants and cafes in and around the conference venue.

 

Conference organisers are Harry Gijbels, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Lydia Sapouna, School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, Ireland.                                                                                                              

Sir,

 

Well done to Mary Rafferty and RTE for the documentary series Behind the Walls on Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals.

 

As you stated in your editorial A Culture of Control (Sep.12), the series highlighted a psychiatric system “where barbaric therapies were routinely employed” but the reality is that even today, under the 2001 Mental Health Act, people are still treated as second class citizens.

 

Of the five psychiatrists who appeared on the series, one was a discredited Waterford doctor, one a proponent of improved hospital conditions, two spoke of the need for a fundamental change of mindset and the fifth spoke, without challenge, of a new, improved form of electro-shock still practiced today.

 

Conspicously absent was any spokesperson for the Irish College of Psychiatry in reaction to the many alarming issues raised in the programme.

 

Equally disappointing was the failure of most of the agenda-setting radio programmes to follow up on the issues the day after.

 

Again as you stated, “an acceptance of alternative views …and robust analysis” is required, such as will be on offer at the November 2011 U.C.C. conference of the Irish Critical Voices Network.

 

Would it be expecting too much to see the Irish College of Psychiatry attend?

 

 

Yours etc,

 

Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,

Rochestown,

Cork.

 

Ph:021-4894303