A pseudo-scientific, outdated and brain-damaging procedure.

Every May for the past 13 years, MindFreedom Ireland has held a public protest in Cork in opposition to the practice of electroshock, still carried out in psychiatric 'hospitals' in Ireland.


We do so in solidarity with The Stop Shocking our Mothers and Grandmothers campaign organised by The Campaign Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) in Canada and MindFreedom International in the US who selected Mothers Day (celebrated in May in North America) to highlight the fact that worldwide, electroshock is given to twice as many women than men, many of them elderly.


Electroshock involves deliberately inducing a seizure by shocking the brain with an electric current.  Even though it is administered under general anaesthetic, the end result is always brain damage, confusion and memory loss, sometimes permanent.  While some psychiatrists use it as a last resort, others are strongly opposed to it.


According to the Mental Health Commission, the latest figures for Ireland show that in 2015 electroshock was given to 243 people involving 2173 individual procedures.  It is frequently given without fully informed consent and any Advanced Directive made by a person saying they do not want it can, under the Mental Health Act, 2001, be legally overruled.


Unable to have our annual protest this memorable year of 2020, MindFreedom Ireland calls for a permanent lockdown on electroshock.


JIm Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland.

12th May, 2020.

In honour of our friend who is attending a 'mental health' tribunal now!

Leo, it has come to our attention that Derry Mescal, a fellow survivor of psychiatry, has spoken to you about a very important petition painstakingly organized by a fellow medic Dr Terry Lynch. The lines of communication to you in this age of fast internet connections seem to be very difficult as you claim that you never received this very important petition. As I write this letter, a sister survivor is attending a tribunal on the issue of being forced - treated with Invega, a new atypical neuroleptic. Many survivors have contacted our organization MindFreedom Ireland, founded in 2003, on the same subject. Unfortunately, they are often women who are still more vulnerable in our present-day society. We are an affiliate of MindFreedom International who has been receiving similar calls for many decades. Globally, other organizations are speaking out about the same subject.

The 2001 Mental Health Act ensures that it is very easy to incarcerate vulnerable Irish people who have committed no crime. Therefore all Irish people are in danger of losing their human right to decide what they know to be a better way to live their own lives. We do not live in a free state. We do not have the right to MindFreedom.

As it is better late than never, you should act immediately to address this outrageous cancer which is at the core of our society and in honour of all those who have lost their lives because of what we describe as a tyranny of ' goodwill' along with those like my good friend who I mentioned earlier. PLEASE ACT NOW!

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals." C.S.Lewis.

Yours sincerely,

MindFreedom Ireland.


Since Jim Gottstein and I were both members of MindFreedom International and I had also joined Psychrights, I knew him even before I was delighted to meet him in person at an INTAR conference in Killarney, Ireland. I felt so much in common with him especially in the area of misinformation about psychotropic drugs and electroshock which can still be legally forced on unwilling victims. Even then I was aware of how courageous he was to stand up to a powerful, corrupt corporation like Eli Lilly. When I heard that he had written his book 'THE ZYPREXA PAPERS' I couldn't wait to purchase a copy. All the survivors and other people who were involved with him in this case I know very well. I am very proud of the way they all worked together with integrity and courage.

I think this book stands out for many reasons. It is written by a very sincere, brave man who is both a survivor of psychiatric oppression and a lawyer. He works with an open heart and a very clever mind. He fought Bill Bigley's case as his lawyer and friend. It was because of Bill that he got access to the Zyprexa papers in the first place. He respected Bill so much that he dedicated his book to him. Zyprexa is an atypical neuroleptic. Eli Lilly also produced the blockbuster SSRI antidepressant Prozac which has serious adverse effects including death and suicide while withdrawal from it can be a nightmare for many. Thankfully, the antidepressants have got some criticism globally but up to now neuroleptics, which are even more toxic, are mostly ignored. They are considered necessary for people labelled with 'schizophrenia' and 'bipolar' even though they can cause a lobotomy. They deprive people of the most precious gift all of us humans were freely given, namely our humanity. Since now they can be prescribed off label, many young children and the elderly find themselves in the neuroleptic trap. I believe that Jim Gottstein's book will help to open a Pandora's box and hopefully, many people will find out the truth about these and other prescription drugs so they can make informed choices. It will also make it more difficult for 'medics' to violently force these drugs on innocent victims and eventually bring about the day when coercive psychiatry is no more. Thank you, Jim, for writing this very important book!

Rest in Peace, Bonnie Burstow


This is a Nocture by Chopin in F-sharp minor that I learned from scratch again last year as it was wiped out from my memory by electroshock when I first memorized it!
Many electroshock victims/survivors have had their lives ruined because of the way psychosocial problems are misunderstood and perceived as in need of 'fixing' rather than being part of our human condition, problems which are increasing today because we do not respect our planet while continuing to put profit before life and everything!
Bonnie did so much to let the public know the truth about electroshock/coercive psychiatry. She will always be in our hearts! 

Electroshock survivor,

Mary Maddock

We sometimes like to see MindFreedom Ireland (MFI) as a candle, shining and flickering in the darkness and always a symbol of light and hope.  The past year has been a trying one for us having had to face and overcome many obstacles, including the passing of some of our staunchest members.  But the flame still flickers and, as we enter the 20's, it is timely that we re-dedicate our efforts to ensure that it will never be extinguished.


Due to circumstances, our Stand by Me group was forced to curtail its weekly schedule back to a monthly one.  It still continues to meet in Costas, Douglas, Cork on the first Wednesday of every month at 4 pm.  Its guiding principle of mutual support was well exercised during the year with the provision of moral and practical sustenance.


MFI was privileged to make personal contact with the indefatigable John Read on his visit to Cork in February.  John, who is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London, is an outspoken opponent of electroshock and his prominent endorsement of our campaign was greatly appreciated and further fired us in organising our annual Shock Protest which went ahead as usual in May.  Held on our now traditional spot on The Grand Parade, Cork, this year (for a change) we had the benefit of a lovely summer's day which facilitated our message reaching a wider audience among the passing public who were addressed by members giving their personal testimonies of the still utilised inhuman, traumatic and outdated procedure.  Media coverage of the event was given by The Cork Independent and also by two journalists from a Swedish publication who, in addition, did personal interviews with members the following day.  Further accounts of the day were provided on social media while in September, a Hot Press journalist did a feature on our activities.


In June, MFI was delighted to welcome Karen McCarthy and 15 of her occupational therapy students from California.  Karen had been a close associate of MFI from her days as an occupational therapist lecturer in UCC and a most successful morning's work was achieved to the extent that a similar visit is already planned for next June.


In September, Mary Maddock was invited, as a survivor of psychiatry, to speak at a conference entitled 'Productive Justice - Gender and Disability Perspectives' in Dublin organised by Eilionior Flynn of University College Galway law department.  The following month, MFI was happy, if only in a small way, to cooperate in Dylan Tighe's project Passolini's Salo Redubbed as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival and shown in the Peacock Theatre, Dublin.  MFI had previously worked with Dylan in his Record project during the Cork Midsummer Festival some years ago.  In his latest project, Dylan used evidence provided by the late Helena King, one of our founder members, in his shocking exposure of the brutal exercise of power and control in Irish state-run institutions, including psychiatric 'hospitals' in the years since independence.


In November, MFI presented a workshop at the annual Critical Voices Network Ireland conference in UCC, the theme of which this year was 'Challenging mental health systems - critical perspectives from inside out and outside in'. Among the audience were Mary and Carlo from Mullingar and Robert Whittaker from Mad in America.


Two further initiatives were the launching of a petition campaign by MFI member Gavin Bushe calling on Minister Jim Daly to repeal the coercive powers enshrined in Sections 3 and 9 of the Mental Health Act and a collaboration with Jo Watson of A Disorder4Everyone in contributing a joint chapter for her upcoming book 'Drop the Disorder - Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis.'  


Sad to report, the year was marked by a number of deaths.  There was the passing of Gerry Hamilton, husband of Joan with whom we had collaborated in the early days of Sli Eile in Charleville.  Abroad, we learned of the death of Janet Foner, a former board member of MindFreedom International and inspirational activist who we had first met at the historic Wisdom House conference in Connecticut in 2007.  We would also like to extend our sympathy to another member who lost her father and to Patrice, a longstanding and fervent member of MFI, on the passing of her beloved mother and to Richard, our tireless campaigner and voice in the west on the death of his brother-in-law.   Two other MFI stalwarts also departed during the year - Tim Nyhan in February and Greg White in April.  Tim had been a very active campaigner, speaking publicly at seminars in UCC and playing his violin at our Little Help from my Friends musical group.  Greg was an inspirational founder member of MFI back in 2003.  It was he who first introduced us to David Oaks and MFInternational.  Wise and philosophical, he was also an empathetic psychotherapist and by his words, actions and practical initiatives, did so much to spread our message, not least of which was to rise from his sickbed in 2013 to give a keynote address at our 10th Anniversary conference in Cork. In 2006, he was part of a MFI group which presented evidence to the Oireachtas Committee on Health which resulted in the publication of its Report on the Adverse Effect of Pharmaceuticals.  May they all rest in peace.


On a happier note, the year concluded with our Christmas get-together in the Quay Co-op where all enjoyed a relaxed and entertaining evening.


So as the curtain falls on another year, we are glad to report that MFI is still standing, still active and still educating the public with our message on forced treatment, choice and the abuse of human rights.  Let us keep the flame burning and someday, though later rather than sooner, the darkness will become light.


Jim Maddock,

31st December 2019.



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