MindFreedomIreland  ‘Stand By Me’ Mutual Support Group




MFIreland was founded in 2003.  It is affiliated to MFInternational  and shares its vision of campaigning for a nonviolent revolution of freedom, equality, truth and human rights in the mental ‘health’ system.


About five years ago, shortly after the publication of ‘Soul Survivor – A  Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’ a number of us began to meet for an informal chat and cups of coffee in Douglas Shopping Centre.  Douglas is a suburb of Cork City.  Then we became more organized and gave our group the name ‘Stand By Me’ and began to meet in Costa’s Coffee Shop every Wednesday without fail from 3.P.M – 6 P.M.  where the friendly staff have always been very welcoming.


Our numbers every week are on average eight people both male and female.  Nearly all have had some dealings with the psychiatric services which were not to our satisfaction.  We now meet from 4.P.M. – 6 P.M., exchange views and ideas, mutually support each other and have a laugh.


A number of initiatives have grown out the group.  One is a music off-shoot which has seen five of us initiate a musical group called ‘ A little help from my friends’ which also meets most weeks on Fridays to play our instruments – violins, piano, guitar, tin whistle and drums – and sing some songs  including out title tune.


Members of the group are also active in supporting the public campaigning activities of MFIreland such as our annual electroshock protests and various public education events, for example  hosting a Robert Whitaker evening in Cork which was attended by over 200 people and organizing a Cork launch for Dr Terry Lynch’s new book ‘Selfhood’ which was  widely supported.  In addition, we are available for each other by phone, email or as advocates for people in hospital.


We attach great significance to the fact that our meeting venue is in the heart of the community in the shopping centre and every Christmas we get together at some other city venue.


Over the years we have had visitors from other parts of Ireland as well as overseas  and the  feelings of mutual support, at home and abroad, are greatly appreciated by all.




Your Tax Dollars at Work: April 16, 2012 - MFI News Exclusive Does Governor Cuomo Know His New York State Institution is Forcibly Electroshocking Glen K.? by MindFreedom International Does Governor Cuomo of New York know that his Rockland Psychiatric Center is administering involuntary electroshock over and against the expressed wishes of the subject?You can ask Governor Cuomo if he is aware of this practice. It's in the public record: Glen K. is being forcibly subjected twice a week to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as shock treatment, in a New York state psychiatric institution -- Rockland Psychiatric Center -- where he is being held involuntarily. These shocks are administered to Glen K. over his clear and consistent protest, under the authority of a court order which authorizes a series of 120 shock treatments over a period of 12 months. This order also authorizes the hospital to chemically restrain Glen K. with involuntary psychiatric drugs, when he refuses medical procedures in preparation for ECT. On many occasions, the hospital has also employed physical and chemical restraints to overcome his resistance to ECT.Ironically, this MindFreedom exclusive investigation is being distributed on "tax day," because the New York government crusade to continue to forcibly electroshock Glen K. is all paid for by your precious federal and state taxpayer dollars.Glen K. Argues for His Right to Say "No" to Shock At a court hearing, Glen K. provided what an observer called an "eloquent expression" of why he was adamantly opposed to ECT. After all, Glen is an expert on electroshock, having received close to 100 shocks before.During this same court hearing, a court-appointed independent psychiatrist testified against subjecting Glen K. to continuing forced shock. The judge ignored this expert witness. In the end, the hospital prevailed and the judge issued the court order for involuntary electroshock.This court order is being appealed and the shocks were temporary halted by an order of the appellate court. However, that order to halt was vacated. That means the forced shocks of Glen K. are being allowed to continue and will continue to the full extent under the hearing court's order, unless Glen K. wins the appeal.Oral argument on this appeal will be heard this coming Thursday, 18 April 2012, before a panel of four judges of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department which sits in Brooklyn, New York.Glen K. and the Court of Public Opinion Glen K. is being represented by the Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS). MHLS will likely emphasize that Glen K.'s objection to further shock treatment was and is a fully informed one, and that he does not lack the requisite ability to make a reasoned treatment decision -- and thus should be free to decide what treatment he can be subjected to -- just because he disagrees with the hospital's recommendation.Further, the appellate court will be asked to accept that Glen K.'s complaint that the shock treatment is brain damaging is not a psychotic delusion but a complaint which echoes much recent scientific research and findings and one which cogently describes the ultimate effect of receiving hundreds of shock treatments.According to a legal expert, it is likely that if the appeal is defeated the hospital will apply for another order for 120 shocks once the challenged order expires, a practice the hospital has followed with other patients under its custody. Glen K. hopes the appellate court will understand that his expressed wish for an alternative treatment does not reflect an impairment in his judgment or thinking, but a sincere request for humane care and treatment.The appellate court will likely issue its decision four to six weeks after the argument is heard.No matter what the appellate court rules, it's time for the court of public opinion to speak out about how their taxpayers dollars are being wasted in a crusade to force electroshock over the expressed wishes of some of the most powerless citizens in the USA.~~~~~~~~~~~ *** ACTIONS *** ACTIONS *** ACTIONS *** Does Governor of New York Andrew M. Cuomo know about his State's administering forced electroshock over a citizen's clear objections?Ask him yourself! Please keep your question civil but strong on this handy web contact form: http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Additional actions:Please forward this news to appropriate sources on the Internet. The short link to this page is:http://bit.ly/cuomo-forced-ectDo you live in New York State? If you can attend Glen K's hearing, it's at Appellate Division, 2nd Department on Thursday, April 19, 2012. The courthouse is located in Brooklyn, NY at 45 Monroe Place with the calender call commencing at 10 AM. The case is likely to be heard as early as 11 AM but could start an hour or two later. These details may change.Also, MindFreedom New York State has a discussion list on this and other topics that current MFI members may join here:http://bit.ly/mf-nystate-talk~~~~~~~~~~~~ ISSUED BY MindFreedom International Initiative on Electroshock and Human RightsMore Info Links Some past successful campaigns to stop involuntary electroshock: * Elizabeth Ellis http://www.mindfreedom.org/elizabeth* Ray Sandford http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray* Paul Henri Thomas in NY State http://www.narpa.org/ect.stay.htm* John Kelly in NY State's Rockland Psychiatric Center: http://www.mindfreedom.org/as/act-archives/us/new-york/john-kelly-electroshock At MFI's request, World Health Organization issued a written position in 2005 against all forced electroshock:http://bit.ly/WHO-on-forced-ECTOne of the few organizations in the USA to support involuntary electroshock is the American Psychiatric Association. For info about speaking up with MFI directly in front of the APA Annual Meeting see:http://www.boycottnormal.orgFor info about electroshock on MFI web site see: http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshockInterested in helping this MFI campaign for Glen K.? MindFreedom International Initiative on Electroshock & Human Rights has an email discussion list for MindFreedom International current members called ZAP BACK, here:http://lists.mindfreedom.org/mailman/listinfo/mindfreedom-zapback_lists.mindfreedom.org To join and support MFI, click here:http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate~~~~~~~~~~~~ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

QUOTES FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH “No behavior or misbehavior is a disease or can be a disease. That’s not what diseases are. Diseases are malfunctions of the human body, of the heart, the liver, the kidney, the brain. Typhoid fever is a disease. Spring fever is not a disease; it is a figure of speech, a metaphoric disease. All mental diseases are metaphoric diseases, misrepresented as real diseases and mistaken for real diseases.” — Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus “There are no objective tests in psychiatry-no X-ray, laboratory, or exam finding that says definitively that someone does or does not have a mental disorder.” “there is no definition of a mental disorder.” “It’s bull—. I mean, you just can’t define it.” — Allen Frances, Former DSM-IV Task Force Chairman “In reality, psychiatric diagnosing is a kind of spiritual profiling that can destroy lives and frequently does.” — Peter Breggin, Psychiatrist “Perhaps worst of all, these diagnoses almost inevitably lead to the prescription of psychiatric medication to you or your child. Psychiatric drugs are toxins to the brain; they work by disabling the brain.” — Peter Breggin, Psychiatrist “…modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness…Patients [have] been diagnosed with ‘chemical imbalances’ despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and…there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like.” — Dr. David Kaiser, Psychiatrist “There’s no biological imbalance. When people come to me and they say, ‘I have a biochemical imbalance,’ I say, ‘Show me your lab tests.’ There are no lab tests. So what’s the biochemical imbalance?” — Dr. Ron Leifer, Psychiatrist “Virtually anyone at any given time can meet the criteria for bipolar disorder or ADHD. Anyone. And the problem is everyone diagnosed with even one of these ‘illnesses’ triggers the pill dispenser.” — Dr. Stefan Kruszewski, Psychiatrist “It has occurred to me with forcible irony that psychiatry has quite literally lost its mind, and along with it the minds of the patients they are presumably suppose to care for.” —David Kaiser, Psychiatrist “DSM-IV is the fabrication upon which psychiatry seeks acceptance by medicine in general. Insiders know it is more a political than scientific document… DSM-IV has become a bible and a money making bestseller—its major failings notwithstanding.” — Loren Mosher, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry “All psychiatrists have in common that when they are caught on camera or on microphone, they cower and admit that there are no such things as chemical imbalances/diseases, or examinations or tests for them. What they do in practice, lying in every instance, abrogating [revoking] the informed consent right of every patient and poisoning them in the name of ‘treatment’ is nothing short of criminal.” — Dr Fred Baughman Jr., Pediatric Neurologist “Psychiatry makes unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin…This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naïve and perhaps delusional.” — Dr. David Kaiser, psychiatrist “In short, the whole business of creating psychiatric categories of ‘disease,’ formalizing them with consensus, and subsequently ascribing diagnostic codes to them, which in turn leads to their use for insurance billing, is nothing but an extended racket furnishing psychiatry a pseudo-scientific aura. The perpetrators are, of course, feeding at the public trough.” — Dr. Thomas Dorman, internist and member of the Royal College of Physicians of the UK “I believe, until the public and psychiatry itself see that DSM labels are not only useless as medical ‘diagnoses’ but also have the potential to do great harm—particularly when they are used as means to deny individual freedoms, or as weapons by psychiatrists acting as hired guns for the legal system.” — Dr. Sydney Walker III, psychiatrist “The way things get into the DSM is not based on blood test or brain scan or physical findings. It’s based on descriptions of behavior. And that’s what the whole psychiatry system is.” — Dr. Colin Ross, psychiatrist “No biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for Attention Deficit Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, anxiety, compulsive alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, gambling or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder.” — Bruce Levine, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion “Unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in DSM-IV [and ICD-10] are terms arrived at through peer consensus.” — Tana Dineen Ph.D., psychologist “It’s not science. It’s politics and economics. That’s what psychiatry is: politics and economics. Behavior control, it is not science, it is not medicine.” — Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus

No booking required.  Just turn up.

17th April 2012:  UCC Chaplaincy in conjunction with Mindfulness Ireland is pleased to welcome 7 leading monastics from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village Monastery to share with us a day of mindfulness here in UCC.  This event is open to all staff and students of UCC and to the public.  Feel free to bring a packed lunch or to avail of the many cafes and restaurants around the campus.

Venue:  Devere Hall UCC (2nd floor of the Student Centre, beside the Honan Chapel - holds 450 people)Times:  Commencing at 10:00 and last talk and practice from 19:00 - 21:00  (these times to be confirmed).It is a Donation only event.


Times of input/meditation practice:

10.00am - 12.00pm:   1st session12.00pm - 12.45pm:    Walking meditation  2.00pm -    4.30pm:    2nd session  7.00pm -    9.00pm:    Evening session


When conflicts of interest arise in medicine


ANALYSIS: Is our approach to mental health compromised by the drugs industry’s financial ties with health professionals?

THE GLOSSY health brochure and website look innocuous enough.

“Solutions for Wellness”, it says, along with information on nutrition, wellness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s a programme being rolled out by health professionals in many mental health services across the country.

There is no mention of drugs of any kind – until you notice the programme itself is sponsored by drug manufacturer Eli Lilly, the makers of some of the most commonly prescribed mental health drugs such as Prozac and Zyprexa.

It’s something which makes Agnes Higgins – an associate professor in mental health at Trinity College Dublin’s school of nursing – feel uncomfortable.

“This is information which has been created by a pharmaceutical company and carries their logo. We are supposed to be providing impartial advice and support to patients. Should we be uncritically accepting or distributing this information?”

For many, it is part of a worrying trend in recent years in which drug companies are playing a more active role in sponsoring medical events, research and education, potentially compromising the independence of nurses and doctors.

Patient groups and growing numbers of health professionals fear the boundaries between education and promotion are becoming increasingly blurred, while patients can be left in the dark over the true value of medication.

Mental health medication is big business. The number of prescriptions on the medical card in Ireland have increased by more than 25 per cent between 2006 and 2010, costing the State in excess of €100 million. This figure does not include private prescriptions, which would push the overall value of the market higher still.

The industry insists there are measures in place to ensure marketing material provides accurate and unbiased information on drugs. The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association points to codes of conduct to guarantee ethical behaviour.

As far as information leaflets or advertisements are concerned, the association says these campaigns help the wider public.

“Pharmaceutical companies are well within their rights to support awareness campaigns on health matters, provided they do not mention or endorse individual products,” an association spokesman said.

“The IPHA is very active in keeping member companies apprised of their obligations in this regard”.

Despite these safeguards, the industry has been at the centre of numerous scandals over recent years over the exaggerated benefits of drugs, or withholding information on potentially harmful side-effects.

Drug regulators, such as the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), have faced criticism for being close to the industry. In a study, Dr Orla O’Donovan of UCC’s department of applied social studies, found that the agency restricted public access to information regarding conflicts of interest.

The IMB, however, says members of advisory committees are required to disclose any potential conflict. It says that while these have not been publicly available, this will change.

“It is anticipated that publication of a summary of board member declarations will be completed in the coming weeks. Similar information for IMB senior management will also be published shortly,” a spokeswoman said.

But an even bigger area, say many, are the intersecting circles of education at third level with the drugs industry. In the US, the industry sponsors up to 70 per cent of drug research in academic institutions; similar figures are not available for Ireland, though the industry also plays a central role.

Research commissioned by the Mental Health Commission notes that while this funding can be very useful, the full implications of it need to be considered.

Its research strategy document cites the argument that drug companies have helped create and reinforced a “narrow, biological approach to the explanation and treatment of mental disorders” which has led to the neglect of alternative non-drug based approaches. The documents concluded the industry has a role to play, with appropriate safeguards.

Dr Dermot Walsh, former inspector of mental hospitals, says the relationships between the industry and doctors have much improved in recent years, though there is still a way to go.

He points to the Medical Council’s guidelines on ethical behaviour which state that “doctors should not allow their relationship with commercial firms influence their attitude towards the design or the results of trials”.

Many of these issues were covered in a report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children a few years ago. It recommended a number of changes to make our drug regulation system stronger and more transparent. There has been little progress on fully implementing the findings.

“Many people were encouraged by the report because it gave official recognition for the first time of how conflicts of interest can arise in medicine,” says Dr O’Donovan. “What we would like to do is to reignite that discussion and the implications for public health.”

'I don't believe in the "chemical brain imbalance theory" - yet I felt I was being coerced into taking that drug' WHEN RICHARD Patterson developed a mental health problem, he went in search of support from a health professional. He hoped the information he received would be objective – but he couldn’t help feeling he was the marketing target of the pharmaceutical industry. The leaflet he was given on how to improve his lifestyle was accompanied by the logo of a major pharmaceutical company, which manufactures some of the most commonly prescribed medications for depression and schizophrenia. Patterson, a critic of the “medical model” of psychiatry who feels drugs are not the answer, felt dismayed. “I didn’t have any problem with the material regarding the importance to general wellbeing of diet, exercise and stress management,” he says. “But, because pharmaceutical companies can’t advertise openly, it just serves as a marketing vehicle.” It’s not the only piece of literature sponsored by the industry he has seen in his time as a patient. He gives the example of a leaflet on the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa which made various health-related claims. “Your doctor has recently prescribed you Zyprexa,” says the leaflet, accompanied by pictures of smiling couples and people out walking. “Congratulations on taking this important step on the road to recovery.” The company involved, Eli Lilly, pleaded guilty to criminal conduct in the US involving its marketing of Zyprexa, and agreed to pay $1.4 billion in fines. The charges Lilly was accused of included persuading doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to two categories of patients – children and the elderly – for whom the drug was not approved and in whom its use was especially deemed risky. All of this has made Patterson question how truly objective many doctors are, and how the influence of drug companies can sometimes seem all-pervasive. “In my case, the consultant wanted me to take a drug made by the company,” he says. “But, like many people, I don’t believe in the ‘chemical brain imbalance theory’ that underpins medical model-based psychiatry. Yet, I felt I was being coerced into taking that drug.”