MINDFREEDOM IRELAND ANNUAL REPORT 2011 Written by Jim Maddock   

            MINDFREEDOM IRELAND ANNUAL REPORT  2011

 

Google MindFreedom Ireland (MFIrl) and quite an amount of information appears reflecting the totally voluntary effort and work which our members have put into our collective group over the years since our foundation in 2003.  From our base in Cork, Ireland we are glad to be able to report a continuation of that work in 2011. 

 

SUPPORT GROUP   Our ‘Stand by Me’ group continued to meet every Wednesday throughout the year in the cosy confines of Costa’s Coffee Shop in Douglas, a suburb of Cork city.  With a faithful and constant base of regular members like the two Phils, Anita, Tina, Miriam, Colette, Eileen, Ann, Mary, Dorothee, Martin, Kevin, Tim and Gerry and many others who dropped in and out during the year, ‘Stand by Me’ provided support, practical advice, information and lots of fun and laughter right up to our Christmas party on December 21st.  A novel spin-off from the group this year was the formation of a Music Ensemble which presently has four participants playing violin, piano and tin whistle and which hopefully will grow next year.  MFIrl also responded to numerous inquiries received by phone and via our website and provided ‘on the ground’ support at hospital level in many instances.  In the spirit of MindFreedom International, MFIrl enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship with Grainne Humphrys of Elemental Ireland and her ‘Free John Hunt’ campaign and Nuria O’Mahony who kindly donated her extensive library for use by our members prior to her departure to Australia.  MFIrl enjoys a similar relationship with Dr. Terry Lynch and early in 2012 plans to have a Cork launch of his recently published book ‘Selfhood’.

 

CONFERENCES   The highlight of 2011 was undoubtedly our first independent conference which we held in the Carrigaline Court Hotel on February 28th.  Entitled ‘Epidemic Exposed – Are Magic Bullets an Illusion?’ and chaired by MFIrl stalwart  Martin Hynes, the panel of speakers featured Kathy Synott, Mary Maddock, Ted Chabasinski, Dr. Terry Lynch and Robert Whittaker and attracted an audience of over 200.  Extracts from the night can be seen on our website.  MFIrl had collaborated with the newly formed Critical Voices Network Ireland (CVNI) in bringing Robert Whittaker to Ireland.  CVNI has as its purpose the creation of “a network of people interested in considering and devoloping responses to human distress which are creative, enabling, respectful and firmly grounded in human rights.”  MFIrl are happy to be affiliated with CVNI and participated in their two day November conference in UCC entitled ‘Medicating Human Distress: Concerns, Critiques and Solutions’ where a number of our members presented workshops.  MFI member Richard Patterson was a keynote speaker at another UCC conference in September entitled ‘Mad Medicine – Do Conflicts of Interest Drive you Crazy?’ while MFI delegates Colette and Mary attended the ENUSP conference in Brussels in May.

 

MEDIA  In the run-up  to and aftermath of our Carrigaline Conference, MFIrl received a high degree of mainstream media attention from the Irish Examiner, Irish Times, Evening Echo, Cork Independent, Cork News, The Carrigdoun and Cork’s 96FM.  Further coverage of our activities appeared in the Irish Independent and Sunday World.  We also have two ‘causes’ – Support MFIrl and Stop Forceful Electro-convulsive ‘therapy’ – on Facebook along with our regularly updated mindfreedomireland.com website. MFIrl members Patrice Campion, Ann  Keohane and Richard Patterson are all regular contributors to the CVNI Facebook page and worth a look too is Richard's MFIrl float at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Carrick-on-Shannon available on You Tube.  Specifically, MFIrl would like to compliment reporter Jennifer Hough of the Irish Examiner for her excellent articles throughout the year.  RTE Radio also interviewed four of our members as part of their week long series of programmes to mark World Mental Health Day in October.

 

OTHER EVENTS   Thanks to the good offices of Greg White, MFIrl was granted a stand at the three-day Mind, Body and Spirit Festival in the City Hall in March.  MFIrl supported the Delete 59b campaign against electro-shock and held our 5th annual ECT public protest on the Grand Parade, Cork in May.  In June, members attended John McCarthy’s Mad Pride Festival in Fitzgerald’s Park.  In the autumn, MFIrl made submissions for proposed government changes to current capacity legislation and the revision of the current 2001 Mental Health Act and in November, participated in Mental Health Reform’s public consultation process.

 

DR AINE TUBRIDY   It was with great sadness that MFIrl learned of the untimely death of Dr. Aine Tubridy last April.  Partner of the late Dr. Michael Corry and co-author of many books with him, Aine had delivered a keynote speech in his memory at the 2010 UCC conference.  MFIrl had forged strong links with Dr. Corry since 2004 and was present in Dublin for Aine’s funeral service.

 

CONNECTIONS  MFIrl was honored to host vetern campaigner Ted Chabasinski in Cork in February and to meet Will Hall of The Freedom Center.  In July we enjoyed a visit by Frank Blankenship, Jackie and Mary from MindFreedom Florida, in September a visit by Tsuyoshi Matsuo from MindFreedom Japan and again, it was an honour to host writer and publisher and former Chair of ENUSP Peter Lehmann from Germany in November.   Of course, MFIrl maintained its strong links with MindFreeom International and David Oaks in America and Don Weitz and CAPA in Toronto along with the World Network of ex-Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and the European Network of ex-Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.

 

  As we head into 2012, the challenges facing not just MFIrl but all who work for humane and rights-based alternatives, continue. We draw strength and encouragement from our sisters and brothers worldwide and the growth  of organisations like CVN here in Ireland.  This year MindFreedom International celebrated its 25th anniversary  and in 2013, MFIrl will celebrate 10 years of existence.  Thankyou and good wishes to all our supporters as we head for that significant milestone.

 

Jim Maddock,

31st December, 2011.

MINDFREEDOM IREALND ANNUAL REPORT 2010

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 - mindfreedomireland.com – 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.

MINDFREEDOM IREALND ANNUAL REPORT 2010

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 - mindfreedomireland.com – 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.

Kidnapped by his family and put in a mental                   home                       By Nicola Tallant Sunday May 06 2007 Independent.ie   RENOWNED poet Paul Durcan feared he was going to be given a lobotomy when he was committed to a mental institution by his family as a young student at UCD.   Durcan, one of Ireland's best-known poets, has revealed how he was spared the dreadful brain operation in favour of electric shock treatment, which has left him mentally scarred to this day.   In an insight into his disturbed life, Durcan has told for the first time how he was just a teenager when he was bundled into a car and driven to St John of God's in Dublin where his family signed him over to doctors.   He was then referred to a Harley Street clinic where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent 27 bouts of crippling electric convulsive therapy (ECT).   Durcan says he feared doctors were going to perform a lobotomy on his brain - a crude procedure in which surgeons drilled two holes through the head and removed brain tissue in a bid to break the nerve circuits they believed were responsible for mental illness.   "The thing that I was most seriously terrified of was that it might happen to me. With other people who had it you could see these little dimples. Even the terrible psychiatrist who performed it admitted that there was no way you could undo what had been done," he said.   "Here were these authoritarian, cocky middle-aged men telling me they knew everything about me.   "They could inject electricity and gas into you so as to make you conform."   The 63-year-old says a breakdown of relations with his privileged middle-class family was to blame for the horrific saga that played out shortly before his first works were published. He insists that he was never mentally ill but says that he has suffered depression and insomnia since the treatments.   "There are two shadows on my soul that stayed forever - melancholia and depression stayed with me for rest of my life. The second is a kind of insomnia.   "I attribute both of them to the heavy physical bombardment and the things I saw there, some of which I wasn't able to cope with."   In a television documentary made by esteemed director Alan Gilsenan and about to be screened on RTE, Durcan also reveals for the first time the difficult relationship he had with his father, Circuit Court judge John Durcan.   "My father used to say to me from as early as I can remember that: 'Nemesis will follow you all the days of your life.' She was the Greek God of bad luck - and sure enough, he was right."   Durcan grew up in a privileged middle-class family in Dublin and has fond memories of his early days at their home at up-market Dartmouth Square. "I think like most children I was enthusiastic about life. I was probably too intense and excitable and the day was never long enough. I think I was incredibly trusting and naive.   "From a fairly early age I was aware that certain kinds of people disapproved of me - particularly certain kinds of male.   "These men had the idea that boys had to be soldiers, chaste soldiers, and had to fit into a mould and if they didn't there was something not quite right. My father would say: 'Paul is a sissy. Come on, be a man.' I was aware of his deep disapproval.   "I spent all my life trying to understand my parents. Even if I had 100 more lifetimes, I still wouldn't.   "Both of them are very complicated, especially my father. I remember when he was in his early 40s he was a laughing, convivial man and a great storyteller. I remember so many rich moments with him. But then as I got older the picture darkened.   "He himself became a circuit court judge in Mayo and Galway but stayed living in Dublin and went every week. He took it very seriously. He would stay in hotel rooms never speaking to anyone, and over a period of time that is a tough way to live.   "When I was 10, he began to be somewhat problematic. When I think about it there were gratuitous beatings and he was incredibly severe about things like examinations. If I hadn't got second or third place it was bad news, and sometimes he would take the strap off his trousers and beat me.   "A man has to be so very complicated if he takes a school report for a 10-year-old that seriously."   Durcan had a better relationship with his mother, remembering her as a beautiful woman who laughed a lot but who was immersed in a strongly male world.   At 13, Durcan suffered from a rare bone disease which left him hospitalised for two months. He recalls how he was sent home for Christmas with a plaster cast on his leg - but attempted to smash it as he wanted to be brought back to hospital to the warmth and affection he got from the nurses there.   Durcan recalls how, in the spring of 1964, he was in a pub in Merrion Row when two members of his extended family came in. "I knew from instinct they were not there for my good health. So I ran out the back door on to the street and saw another one of them.   "He tackled me and bundled me into a car and they drove me back to Dartmouth Square. In the afternoon, a psychiatrist came and gave me an injection and then I was driven to the St John of God.   "I remember one doctor saying that he had met some bad people in his life but that I was the worst. Then it was decided I should see a consultant in Harley Street and there I met my Waterloo, in a sense." Durcan recalls how - in terrifying scenes that could have come straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - he was given 27 doses of ECT.   At that time, surgeons were prone to conduct lobotomies - the dreaded operation that left President John F Kennedy's sister Rose and many others like her mentally retarded for life.   Durcan says that it was the fact he didn't conform with his middle-class family that landed him in a mental hospital along with his father's belief that anything a doctor said was sacred.   "I knew my mother was uneasy about it but the way he looked on it was that a doctor had said it so it must happen. If someone feels obliged to say that I must have been ill, that is fair enough, but I know I wasn't."   Durcan spent three years in and out of various psychiatric hospitals. He eventually ran away and went into town to meet fellow poets Patrick Kavanagh and Brian Lynch. His mother kept in touch and sometimes gave him money, often arranging clandestine meetings in Bewley's. Durcan then moved to London. It was when he was living homeless there that was told his first book was to be published.   Later that year, he went to a wedding with Patrick Kavanagh and his wife Catherine. While sitting in the bar, Durcan met his future wife Nessa O'Neill.   When they said they were to marry, his father phoned Nessa's mother Kitty and asked her to remove his name from the Irish Times announcement. The couple had two children but split up 1977. Durcan now lives in Dublin, and his new collection, The Laughter of Mothers, will be published by Harvill Seckler next autumn.   'Arts Lives: Paul Durcan - The Dark School', will be shown next Tuesday on RTE One at 10.15pm.   - Nicola Tallant     

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Psychiatric patients unaware of prescription drug risks

By Jennifer Hough

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MANY psychiatrists are not informing people about the dangers of the long-term use of drugs they are prescribing — or about the medical problems which may develop later in life.

Author and mental health campaigner Peter Lehmann also said people who would be perfectly normal without medication were remaining in a "toxic state" because of constant medication. Speaking at a major conference in University College Cork yesterday on the overuse of medications, Mr Lehman told an audience of 400 people that, in general, people who are prescribed anti-psychotic drugs on a long-term basis are not informed about the possibility of illness such as diabetes, breast cancer and other risks. Mr Lehmann, who has campaigned on the issue since the 1970s, called this an "illegal situation", as there is no informed consent, and the lack of knowledge prevents people from looking out for early warning signs of medical side-effects. He said there is now extensive research to show that coming off such medications is the same as withdrawing from morphine-based drugs or alcohol. The conference, Medicating Human Distress, was organised by the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the School of Applied Social Studies, along with campaign group Critical Voices Network of Ireland. Former chief psychiatrist of the eastern health board, Dr Ivor Browne, who was attending the talk, said that, for the first time in 50 years, there seems to be a wind of change. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Dr Browne, now a counselling psychotherapist, said there is so much evidence about the dangers of psychiatric drugs that it cannot be ignored. "I think it is going to force change, but that means breaking the power that big pharma has over doctors who get perks for prescribing the drugs," Dr Browne said. "Psychiatry has all the power and unless we get this message through to them it is very difficult to see how things will change. But I feel sorry for psychiatrists because all they can do is prescribe medication, but there is an urgent need to look at different ways of doing things. "You do find the odd psychiatrist who is willing to engage and I am trying to talk to them," he said. "We don’t have alternatives in place for people and drugs are damaging long-term. We need to treat people as humans and not patients who have a long term sickness. And we shouldn’t call what we do ‘treatment’. There is no way I can say to a person ‘I will treat you and make you better’. I can only guide the person. They themselves have to do the work." Dr Browne said 60%-80% of his work is helping people to slowly get off drugs. "At the moment I can’t keep up with the numbers of people trying to come and see me.

This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, November 17, 2011

 http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/health/psychiatric-patients-unaware-of-prescription-drug-risks-174194.html#ixzz1e07eepzo

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to add my voice to Riona Dunlea’s letter ‘Labelling youngsters is dangerous’ (Oct.18th).  As one who was given false unscientific labels I know they cause harm and discrimination.  Many people in emotional distress are diagnosed and remain on drugs that cause more damage than good while the cause of their distress is not addressed.

 

It is outrageous that children as young as two are being diagnosed today.  They are prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs which can cause serious harm, even death for some.  “ Twenty years ago, our society began regularly prescribing drugs to children and adolescents,  and now one out of every fifteen Americans enter adulthood with a “ serious mental illness”  ( Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker).

 

The quick fix solution is very profitable for some but how many lives have to be destroyed before better solutions are supported and applied.  Our children deserve a better future.  Let us provide it!

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mary Maddock, MindFreedom Ireland

 

16 Manor Close,

Thornbury Hgts.,

Rochestown,

Cork.

Ph: 021 4894303