A public protest against the controversial psychiatric practice of electroshock will take place in Cork on Saturday, May 16th 2015.
The protest will coincide with similar events being organised around the world and is being held to honour the memory of Leonard Roy Frank, a lifelong opponent of electroshock who died earlier this year.
It is being organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based survivor/activist group and will be their 7th such annual protest. Personal testimonies will be given by people who have been the recipients of electroshock.
The practice involves passing an electric current through the brain provoking a grand mal seizure and causing cognitive dysfunction and brain damage. Latest figures from The Mental Health Commission reveal that 311 programmes or 2152 single 'treatments' were given to 244 people in Irish hospitals in 2012. Twenty seven people were electroshocked without their consent in keeping with Section 59b of the 2001 Mental Health Act which still allows for it to be given to a person who is "unable or unwilling" to consent, on the say-so of two psychiatrists.
As is the case worldwide, twice as many women than men were given electroshock in Ireland in 2012, the oldest being a woman of 92.
Member of The Campaign Against Psychiatric Assault and author of the recently published book ' Psychiatry and the Business of Madness' Toronto based Bonnie Burstow said "All of us in our own cities in our own different ways will be together protesting on May 16th. How wonderful that Cork, Ireland is once again part of an international protest against electroshock."
In addition to Leonard Roy Frank, MindFreedom Ireland are dedicating their protest to the memory of the late Dr. Michael Corry, the late Dr. Aine Tubridy and the late John McCarthy all of whom passionately campaigned for its abolition.
MindFreedom Ireland was founded in 2003 and in 2011 hosted a conference addressed by, among others, Limerick psychotherapist and author Dr. Terry Lynch, American journalist and founder of Mad in America Robert Whittaker and American lawyer Ted Chabasinski who had received electroshock as a child of 6 in Belleview Hospital in New York and who, along with fellow survivors Deborah Schwartzkopff and Mary Maddock, are the chief co-ordinators for the world wide May protest.
Founder of MindFreedom Ireland Mary Maddock said " Electroshock is a barbaric practice. I received 13 sessions of it after the birth of my daughter and it left me with permanent memory loss and dysfunction. We call for a total abolition of the practice."
The Cork protest takes place outside The Peace Park on The Grand Parade from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday May 16th and all are welcome.