Chief Yellow Hawk’s Prayer



O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,

And whose breath gives life to all the world,

Hear me; I come before you, one of your children.

I am small and weak; I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes

Ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made,

My ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may know the things you

Have taught my people,

The lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,

but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.

Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes,

So when life fades as a fading sunset,

My spirit may come to you without shame.


This is a prayer Colette Ni Dhuinneacha shared with us at our ‘Stand by Me’ support meeting yesterday the 24th of August.

Mary Maddock speaks at  the Robert Whitaker conference in Carragline, Cork

The other speakers were Kathy Sinnott, Dr Terry Lynch, Ted Chabasinski and Robert Whitaker himself.

Mary Maddock speaks at  the Robert Whitaker conference in Carragline, Cork

The other speakers were Kathy Sinnott, Dr Terry Lynch, Ted Chabasinski and Robert Whitaker himself.

MindFreedom Ireland's submission on legal capacity   "We are all human beings responsible for our own lives and should have the right to decide what is best for ourselves. Some of us are not more human than others!!

It is hard to believe that they brain damage us and then they say we are less that human! It is because they believe we are subhuman that they have the right to lock us up and drug/electroshock us against our will for our own good.


Even though I am drug free for over ten years now and prescribed drugs tortured me for nearly 20 years yet I could still be forced treated with these same drugs if two psychiatrists thought this was necessary.  If I wrote an advanced directive this could also be over ruled by two psychiatrists.

Psychiatric diagnoses are not valid.  They are not based on objective scientific proof.  There is no blood test, scan or objective medical test to establish any psychiatric diagnoses yet psychiatrists have the power to deprive innocent people of their freedom and force treat them with powerful psychotropic drugs.


Why have we not got the right to decide how to live our own lives?   We should have the same rights as every other human being full stop.”  

Mary Maddock

    Vejle, Denmark, 20th July 2004 The following was used as the reference for the Resolution of the workshop on the United Nations convention on human rights and disability, which was passed by the WNUSP general assembly in Vejle, Denmark, in July, 2004: ( MindFreedom Ireland was represented at this general assembly )   We work with WNUSP and ENUSP. World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry generally supports the Working Group text for articles 9 through 12, and in particular urges that the following language be retained. In Article 9: States parties shall … (b) accept that persons with disabilities have full legal capacity on an equal basis as others, including in financial matters; (c) ensure that where assistance is necessary to exercise that legal capacity: (i) the assistance is proportional to the degree of assistance required by the person concerned and tailored to their circumstances, and does not interfere with the legal capacity, rights and freedoms of the person; … (d) ensure that persons with disabilities who experience difficulty in asserting their rights, in understanding information, and in communicating, have access to assistance to understand information presented to them and to express their decisions, choices and preferences, as well as to enter into binding agreements or contracts, to sign documents, and act as witnesses; In Article 10: 1. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities: … b) are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty … in no case shall be based on disability. In article 11: 1. States Parties shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial, educational or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 2. In particular, States Parties shall prohibit, and protect persons with disabilities from, medical or scientific experimentation without the free and informed consent of the person concerned, and shall protect persons with disabilities from forced interventions or forced institutionalisation aimed at correcting, improving, or alleviating any actual or perceived impairment. In article 12: 2. Such measures should prohibit, and protect persons with disabilities from, forced interventions or forced institutionalisation aimed at correcting, improving, or alleviating any actual or perceived impairment…. Draft Article 15 LIVING INDEPENDENTLY AND BEING INCLUDED IN THE COMMUNITY 1. States Parties to this Convention shall take effective and appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and be fully included in the community, including by ensuring that: (a) persons with disabilities have the equal opportunity to choose their place of residence and living arrangements; (b) persons with disabilities are not obliged to live in an institution or in a particular living arrangement; (c) that persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance, necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community; (d) community services for the general population are available on an equal basis to persons with disabilities and are responsive to their needs; (e) persons with disabilities have access to information about available support services.   In the case of Article 12, it must be recognized that legal capacity on an equal basis with others means the same legal capacity as others – not an inferior or partial legal capacity or a presumption of legal capacity that can be rebutted by evidence of lack of sufficient decision-making ability. One person’s judgment that another lacks decision-making ability is tantamount to negating the human subjectivity of that person; such judgments if probed are based on an attribution of psychosocial, intellectual or other mental (such as dementia) disability. Support must be provided to the full extent of a person’s need, but must never become compulsion; support for the exercise of legal capacity can never subvert legal capacity itself, which is the right to make one’s own decisions. WNUSP and our related networks have developed robust alternative models for a social response to persons experiencing madness, mental health problems and trauma. These models emphasize the primacy of first-person experience, honoring thoughts and feelings, meeting practical needs, taking enough time for resolution or healing, and believing in every person’s ability to transform his/her life. Professional psychotherapy, nutrition and other holistic therapies, and psychiatric treatment with drugs, can be a valid part of an individual’s healing journey when used with free and informed consent. Free and informed consent practices should be geared to giving individuals the tools to make decisions they are comfortable with now and are not likely to regret later; their primary purpose is not to protect medical personnel from liability. The serious adverse effects associated with psychiatric drugs in particular, including increased potential for metabolic problems and early mortality, indicate that safer alternatives should be researched and developed, and that existing drugs should be carefully scrutinized for safety and efficacy with accountability to users. A consensus is developing in our community that electroshock, in its modified or unmodified forms, as well as any kind of psychosurgery, is too risky and should not be used at all. Spiritual and traditional healing/therapies may have great value for individuals and communities, affirming their connections to one another and the transformative potential of madness, so long as it is not forced or coerced. Forced or coerced participation in spiritual and traditional practices, like forced medical interventions, can amount to torture or ill-treatment. The success of alternative models indicates that resistance to the full implications of the CRPD is primarily the result of discrimination that persists despite the advances made in human rights law and in the development of practical knowledge. WNUSP calls on states to develop inclusive processes for implementation of the CRPD in the manner of the drafting and negotiations, with a central role for users and survivors of psychiatry and other persons with disabilities, coming together in good faith to transform society and its laws and practices for our full inclusion and equality. Users and survivors of psychiatry are the primary agents and primary beneficiaries of this transformation but it is one that ultimately involves and benefits everyone. Moosa Salie, Editor WNUSP newsletter Chair WNUSP Secretary PANUSP      




Now in its 8th year of operation, MindFreedom Ireland (MFI) continued its work on many levels during 2010. From its Cork base of dedicated members and drawing support from friends both nationally and abroad, MFI can look back on another year of substantial achievement.


SUPPORT GROUP.     At the core of MFI is the Wednesday support group ‘Stand By Me’.  Members come and go depending on circumstances but without fail, there was always a solid base group which provided practical and moral support to not just people from Cork but to others from further afield who had heard of its existence.  Standing by people in hospital or in their own homes, members gave generously of their time in accordance with our philosophy of mutual support.  MFI was also glad to support the ‘Free John Hunt’ campaign organised by Grainne Humphrys of Elemental Ireland which attracted  a lot of media attention.


MEDIA CAMPAIGN.  MFI received considerable media coverage throughout the year especially during the ‘ECT’ Debate in The Irish Times.  This included letters published and a special feature in The Health Plus supplement on one of our members Colette Ni Dhuinneacha who gave powerful testimony of her negative experience of ‘ECT’ which she repeated on the main news on TG4, the Irish language TV channel.  MFI members Kevin Foley and Mary Maddock also spoke of their ‘ECT’ experiences on the widely-listened to ‘Talk to Joe’ national radio phone-in while MFI also received widespread publicity for its anti-‘ECT’ stance in a special ‘Comment’ feature in the prestigious Sunday Times.  Our website - – was revamped and upgraded and for this ‘MFI’ is grateful to Edith Lawlor who gave freely of her time and expertise.  MFI also lobbied politicians in support of the ‘Delete 59b’ (of the Mental Health Act, 2001) campaign against involuntary’ ECT’ organised by John McCarthy and doctors Pat Bracken and the late Michael Corry.


DR. MICHAEL CORRY.      It was with great sadness MFI learned of Michael’s death on February 22nd.  A rare psychiatrist of the greatest humanity, humility, passion and courage, MFI were represented at his funeral service.  MFI had been privileged to work with him in his anti-‘ECT’ campaign and to participate in the making of his documentary film ‘Soul Interrupted’ which formed an integral part of his 2006 Burlington Hotel Conference.


CONFERENCES.        It was most fitting then that ‘The Dr. Michael Corry Memorial Conference – Critical Positions on and Beyond Recovery’ was held in University College Cork in November.  Organised by The School of Nursing and The School of Applied Social Science, Michael had been a keynote speaker at the 2009 conference.  MFI members Greg White and Mary Maddock presented workshops at both conferences, the second of which included the launch of The Irish Forum for Critical Voices in Mental Health.  MFI also participated in The Institute of Health Sciences ‘Food and Mood’Confeerence in Dublin in September while in May, MFI had an information and educational stand at the three day International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership conference in Killarney.  Earlier in May MFI had presented a talk at The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) PsychOut Conference in Toronto organised by an international committee of activists, graduate students and shock survivors led by campaigners Don Weitz, Bonnie Burstow and Shaindl Diamond where David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, was a keynote speaker.  MFI was also proud to participate in the ‘Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers’ public protest in front of the legislative building in Toronto.


ELECTROSHOCK  PROTEST.    MFI organised its own 4th annual ELECTROSHOCK  public protest on The Grand Parade in Cork in June and continued the campaign with a Facebook Cause which, in the course of the year, received over 7000 signatures.


FINANCE/EVENTS.    MFI operates on a shoestring.  We receive no assistance from any government body or organization.  We depend on occasional small donations from members/supporters and on various fund-raising events held from time to time.  MFI would like to express special gratitude to Pam Walsh (and Amy) for organising our ‘Swimathon’ in December and also to Keith and the staff at Carrigaline Court Leisure Centre for facilitating us.  Thanks to the fundraiser, MFI was in a position to commence work on an event which promises to be one of the highlights of 2011.  This was to extend an invitation to Robert Whitaker, award-winning American journalist and author of ‘Mad in America – Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill’ and the recently published ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic – Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America’, to speak in Cork next February, to which he readily agreed.  He will be joined on the night by Dr. Terry Lynch, author of the best-selling ‘Beyond Prozac – Healing Mental Distress’ and longstanding outspoken critic of bio-psychiatry.  The event is due to take place at The Carrigaline Court Hotel at 7.30pm on Monday February 28th, 2011.  Admission will be free with donations at the door.  Other events during the year which MFI attended were The Mad Pride Day in Fitzgerald ‘s Park in June and a meeting with The Catherine McCauley School of Nursing in UCC in March to contribute to their review of the syllabus content for their psychiatric nursing programme.


CONNECTIONS.         In the course of the year, MFI maintained its links with fellow organisations overseas including The European Network of ex-Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (thanks to Debra Shulkes for an excellent Newsletter and mention of MFI), Psychrights and Patients Advocacy. MFI members Dorothy Krien and Martin Hynes linked up with Dr. Bryan McElroy and his Food Healing group which meets every Tuesday evening at the South Presentation Convent, Douglas Street, Cork.  MFI were honored to host Tina Minkowitz (World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) in Cork in April.  MFI would also like to register our appreciation of the support and encouragement we receive from David Oaks and all on the Board of MindFreedom International and finally to express our great sadness at the passing last January of another friend Judi Chamberlain, a woman often described affectionately described as The Grandmother of the Movement and author of ‘On Our Own’.


CONCLUSION.  In what was a trying year on many fronts in Ireland, MFI can look back at its record and be proud of its contribution.  Thanks to all our members, supporters and friends for all their efforts throughout the year.  Our focus for the future will be as before namely, to educate the public, to oppose forced treatment and to strive for humane and effective alternatives.  MFI is pleased to be part of the recently formed Critical Voices Network and looks forward to contributing to its evolution.  With a general election due early in the New Year, further opportunities should arise to promote our aim of a non-violent revolution in the ‘mental health’ system.



Jim  Maddock.

31st December, 2010.