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public who were addressed by members giving their personal testimonies of the still utilised inhuman, traumatic and outdated procedure.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.

 

It was with a deep sense of loss that we in MindFreedom Ireland recently learned of the death of our sister MindFreedom activist Janet Foner.

 

We first encountered Janet at the unforgettable and historic MindFreedom conference held at Wisdom House, Connecticut in July, 2007.  Over three memorable days, we witnessed her leadership qualities, her organizational abilities and her inspirational activism, not to mention her sense of fun on display during the evening social activities culminating in the night of the grand concert!

 

She was always positive, encouraging and supportive, qualities Mary subsequently witnessed when serving as a sister Board member of MindFreedom for a number of years.  Her sincerity shone out and her bountiful legacy will forever be reflected in her Re-evaluation Counseling and her Voices for Choices campaign.



Jim & Mary Maddock,

 

MindFreedom Ireland.

 

 

It is with great sadness that we mark the death of our inspirational and supportive friend Greg White.  From his early involvement with The Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Irish Penal Reform, Greg, along with another inspirational figure Helena King and enlightened doctor Terry Lynch, was instrumental in inspiring  Mary Maddock to establish MindFreedom Ireland in 2003.

 

He also became Chairman of The Cork Advocacy Network while Mary Maddock was secretary and co-operated in bringing David Oaks, the Director of MindFreedom International and other psychiatric survivors to Cork for a major conference in UCC in 2005. Since then, his wise counsel, original thinking and active involvement with MindFreedom Ireland was always much appreciated.  He stood at our electroshock protests, the first to be held in Ireland, with his self-made placard ‘Electroshock - Stunning isn’t it?’.

 

In 2006, he was part of a MindFreedom Ireland group which, led by Nuria O Mahony along with the late Dr. Michael Corry, presented evidence to the Oireachtas Committee on Health which resulted in the publication of its report on ‘The Adverse Effect of Pharmaceuticals’. He helped to organise the first ‘Hearing Voices’ conference at the Metropole Hotel, Cork.  Later, at his own expense, he organised the printing of a number of pamphlets - ‘Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs’ - written by American activist Will HalI and embarked on a personal crusade distributing them throughout the country.

 

In 2013 he rose from his sick bed to deliver a keynote address at our 10th Anniversary Conference while he also participated in a number of Critical Voices Network Ireland conferences, the annual Cork gathering of people committed to challenging bio-psychiatry.  Staunchly devoted to the human rights of people experiencing emotional distress, he was also a practising and empathetic psychotherapist and contributed to Jerry O Mullane’s MindFreedom Ireland Documentary in 2015.

 

He will be greatly missed by all his friends in the movement.  We extend our sympathy to Jennie and his family. We are all the poorer for his passing but equally enriched by his lasting legacy.

 

Jim Maddock,

Easter Sunday, 2019.

 

 



As we complete our 15th year of activity since our foundation in 2003, MindFreedom Ireland (MFIrl) can now take the opportunity to assess where it is, what it has achieved and where it is going. Our core objectives remain as they always have, namely to abolish forced ‘treatment’, to achieve human rights for all without discrimination and to do all we can to bring about a non-violent revolution in the current power driven, psychiatric medical model.

 

Central to this is our media presence.  In the past, we had placed too much trust in the established media to take on board our vision, not realising that it is as much part of the establishment as the psychiatric/pharmaceutical complex itself.  Yes, it may and has given expression to our point of view but in the interests of ‘balance’ (or more accurately, we would claim, ‘imbalance’) it will still always come down on the side of the College of Psychiatry. Fortunately, this is where ‘social media’ can prove more than useful to us where we can be. in effect, our own media.  Our Facebook pages ‘MindFreedom Ireland’, ‘Cork Stand by Me’ and ‘No More Electroshock’ link us to a wide audience while our website

http://www.mindfreedomireland.com

is a vital gateway for people new to the psychiatric experience to access information and alternative means of help.  Strong and lasting links have been forged both at home and abroad with groups such as The Critical Voices Network Ireland, Drop the Disorder in the UK, The Campaign Against Psychiatric Assault in Canada and of course MindFreedom International itself to name but a few.

http://www.adisorder4everyone.com/

http://www.cvni

http://www.capa

http://www.mindfreedom.org





MIndFreedom International appointed a new Director in 2018 in the person of psychologist and survivor Ron Bassman, author of ‘A Fight to Be’ to carry on the work of the indefatigable pair of David Oaks and.Celia Brown.  It also embarked on a new project steered by Sarah Smith to utilise ‘old hands’ to train and monitor and offer practical support and advice to its oversubscribed call for new young activists.  Prominent among these is Jim Flannery who offered his technical and computer skills to host many online meetings and also produced a series of interviews central to the aims of the project. MFIrl was happy to host Jim while on a visit to Ireland in June where he also linked up with Richard Patterson from Leitrim who has become a mentor in the initiative.  MFIrl also hosted Emily Cuttler, another young American activist who was in Cork to present a workshop at the CVNI conference in November.

 

MFIrl members too had a presence at the CVNI conference.  Mary Maddock and Deirdre Gibbons gave a workshop presentation and were supported by Dorothee and Miriam, the latter who compiled a photographic record of the event.

 

Mutual Support in all its aspects is central to our philosophy.  At a local level, the ‘Cork Stand by Me’ group continued its weekly Costa meetings throughout the year with a core presence of regular attendees and the welcome addition of some new faces.  We were sorry to lose the support of the steadfast Susan who returned to her native Wales in the summer. We were delighted to welcome her back for a short visit in November. MFIrl was also able to act in an advocacy capacity for fellow members on a number of occasions and to continue to offer support and information to an ongoing string of requests from around the country made by phone or through social media.

 

MFIrl was more than happy to contribute to an initiative undertaken by our long-term friend and ally Dr. Terry Lynch who in December submitted his Petition to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for radical overhaul of the current psychiatric system.  We are also delighted to report that Terry’s book ‘Depression Delusion’ has recently been translated into Portuguese in Brazil. MFIrl had hosted a Cork launch of the book when it was first published in 2015.

 

In May we held our annual public protest against the still utilised practice of electroshock.  Speakers highlighted the fact that two-thirds of the recipients in Ireland are women, in keeping with the figures worldwide.  We would also like to acknowledge the practical support of Fiona towards our protest which was held to coincide with a First Do No Harm protest against the American Psychiatric Association held in New York and the worldwide International Protest to Ban Shock Treatment held simultaneously on May 12th.  We are also happy to report further progress in the long-standing campaign of Dr. Peter Breggin in America to ban the practice. This stems from a crucial recent U.S. legal judgement against electroshock device manufacturers for their failure to warn of known risks of brain-damage, thereby opening the way for justice to be achieved by further shock recipients.

 

So at year’s end, we can report that the work of MFIrl continues. As always, we remember our departed friends Helena and Carmel and many others who are no longer with us.  We stand in support of many who are still struggling in the system, a system dominated by a discriminatory Mental Health Act and a system that you or any one of us could find ourselves being sucked into.  We continue to be inspired and encouraged by our friends and supporters at home and abroad and sustained by the infusion of young blood. We continue to operate on a shoestring budget but pride ourselves on our total and authentic independence knowing that there are some things that money just can’t buy.

 

JIm Maddock,

31st December, 2018.

 

www.mindfreedomireland.com

 

http://www.adisorder4everyone.com/gallery/

'A Disorder for Everyone' is coming to Cork on Friday, June 1st, 2018.

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Mind Freedom Ireland's Annual Reports

Mindfreedom Ireland Press Releases