MINDFREEDOM IRELAND 2012 ANNUAL REPORT.

 

Two thousand and twelve was another busy year for MindFreedom Ireland (MFIrl).  From our base in Cork we continued our work on a number of fronts, thanks to the efforts and dedication of our core group, all of whom voluntarily contribute with their time and support.

MEDIA.  Two of our members featured on national television programmes.  In April Colette Ni Dhuinneacha appeared on TV3's Morning Show where she gave an excellent performance in a head to head debate with psychiatrist Dr Anne Jeffers of the Irish College of Psychiatry on the issue of electroshock.  The same issue was again featured on RTE's Prime Time programme in July when Mary Maddock argued strongly for its abolition. MFIrl members and supporters also participated in The Niall Boylan Show on Classic 4FM when psychiatry in general and drugs in particular were discussed.

In the printed media, MFIrl engaged with Carl O'Brien of The Irish Times for his excellent 3 part series on Drugs which apppeaared in April and again in December when Miriam O'Shea was featured in an article critical of existing mental health services. Anne Keohane and Mary Maddock also had letters published in The Irish Times.  MFIrl was again mentioned in an article in the online publication The Journal on the subject of electroshock and yet again in a prominent article by Harry Leech on the same subject in The Sunday Times while we had an article on the history of critical psychiatry in Ireland published on the Mad in America website blog.  Completing our anti shock campaign was a further MFIrl article which appeared in Asylum magazine.  We also lead three pages on Facebook - Stop the Forceful Use of Electroshock, Sing it from the Mountains and MindFreedom Ireland. While the departure of sympathetic journalist Jennifer Hough from The Irish Examiner left a void, MFIrl continued to receive coverage in the local press.

 EVENTS  This was particularly so during the advance publicity for the Cork launch of Dr. Terry Lynch's new book Selfhood which we organised in January, an event which attracted a sizable audience and which was also attended by Kathleen LynchTD, Minister responsible for Mental Health.  MFIrl was also delighted to participate in an innovative and original project that was part of the Cork Midsummer Arts Festival in June.  The project was entitled Record, a personal dramatic/musical account of actor/musician Dylan Tighe's encounter with the psychiatric system and which, in addition to the night-time performances, also featured a series of public lunch-time debates - Samples -, one of which was exclusively devoted to a discussion with five members of MFIrl, a discussion which was repeated when the play had another run at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October.

In June, MFIrl organised a Label Rip as its contribution to the Occupy Psychiatry Day when similar protests took place worldwide.  Finally, MFIrl members were out in force during the two day Critical Voices Network Ireland (CVNI) conference 'Critical Perspectives and Creative Responses to Experiences of Trauma and Distress' in UCC in November to participate in the many excellent workshops and listen to a hard-hitting keynote presentation entitled Time for Change - Bury Forced Psychiatry Not People' from MFIrl activist Richard Patterson.  MFIrl is affiliated to the CVNI and attended many of the CVNI (South) meetings in the course of the year.

 ACTIVITIES AND MUTUAL SUPPORT.  The 'Stand by Me' support group continued to meet every Wednesday in Costa Coffee shop in Douglas.  While numbers fluctuated, there was always a core group which continued to offer company, support, advice and information.  MFIrl also visited people in hospital in Cork and mobilised peer support for a supporter involuntarily detained in a Dublin hospital. Importantly, we also made a submission on the proposed Mental Capacity Bill presently being prepared by the government. The 'Little Help from my Friends' music group also met on a weekly basis throughout the year, their hours of practice culminating in a public performance for the students of Dr. Karen McNulty's occupational therapy class in UCC in December. (You Tube)  A well attended general meeting in November reviewed our progress since our foundation in 2003 and set out a blueprint for our future.

In August, MFIrl accepted an invitation to meet with representatives of the Irish College of Psychiatry.  In a two hour exchange of views, we laid out our many concerns with psychiatry as presently practiced but, not surprisingly, came away from the meeting with little expectation of any future change.

However, morale boosting contact was maintained with many other old and new friends, many of them active on the CVNI Facebook page, including Bernie Bushe, Patrice Campion, Richard Patterson, Dylan Tighe and Gordon Lucas.  We also worked closely with Cheryl Prax and Speak Out Against Psychiatry (SOAP) and hosted one member of the group Sharon Racklyeft, who was in Cork for the CVNI conference.  Other visitors during the year included Rhonda and Bruce Urdang from MindFreedom Arizona, Tsuyoshi Matsuo from MindFreedom Japan, Jackie Proctor from Scotland and Louisa Putnam and Kermit Cole who were in Cork as part of a film project commissioned by Mad in America.

In another encouraging step, Mary Maddock was invited by Rick Deady of the UCC School of Psychiatric Nursing to become in Rick's words a "part of the curriculum presentation in an inclusive rather than tokenistic manner."  The module 'Recovery: Theory, Concepts and Principles' is to continue for the next four years.

Finally, in December MFIrl members established a local 'Selfhood' discussion group with plans for regular meetings in 2013 and the year concluded with a very enjoyable and well attended Christmas lunch in Blarney.

DEPARTED FRIENDS.  The year saw the untimely passing of John McCarthy who had been a very active member of MFIrl over the years before concentrating his efforts on building up Mad Pride.  We had also established contact with Dr. Thomas Szasz whose death in New York in September we deeply mourn and we would like to extend our sympathy to Louisa Putnam on the passing of her son Luke in September. May they all rest in peace.

CONCLUSION.  The year concluded with the news of a serious accident involving David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International.  As we write, the latest reports of his condition are encouraging and we extend our united wishes for a speedy recovery.  David has been a tireless and inspiring activist for over 30 years and as MFIrl begins its 10th year in existence in 2013, we draw on his spirit to continue to sustain us.  We hope it will be evident in our newly revamped website mindfreedomireland.com which should be up and running in January and for which we express our appreciation to Gordon and Noreen.  Our many thanks again to all our other members and supporters in Cork, throughout Ireland and internationally.

 

Jim Maddock,

December 31st, 2012.

 

 

                                                                            MINDFREEDOM IRELAND 2009 ANNUAL REPORT.

 

As 2009 draws to a close, MFIrl can look back on its performance during the year and report significant progress on a number of fronts.

LOBBYING.  MfIrl maintained its established links with Amnesty Ireland  and supported its ongoing campaign against humann rights abuses.  MFIrl also lent its support to the successful effort to stop the forced shocking of Ray Sandford as well as supporting other efforts on behalf of John Hunt (Ireland), Anthony Milne (South Africa) and Abdul Ahmed (Denmark).  In addition, MFIrl lobbied Irish politicians on the shortcomings of the Irish psychiatric system and was present in the Irish Senate for the debate on the bill to abolish forced electro-shock.  Support and advice was also offered to many people who contacted us through our website and Martin Hynes and Dorothee Krien made valuable advocacy contributions in a number of Tribunal cases.

MEDIA CAMPAIGN.  MFIrl was represented by Nuria O'Mahony on 'Prime Time' the flagship RTE current affairs programme which was dealing with the issue of the adverse effects of SSRIs.  Further media attention was secured by a number of articles in The Irish Times and Sunday Times, two large circulation national newspapers while the voice of MFIrl was also heard in the month long 'ECT Without Consent' debate in the influential 'Letters to the Editor' page of the Irish Tomes.  Facebook causes such as 'Stop Forced Electroshock', 'The Incarceration of John' and 'Support MindFreedom Ireland' were set up as well as a number of videos being added to You Tube.

EVENTS.  Lydia Walsh-Yildirim and Mary Maddock made a poetry and music presentation to the National Service Users Executive Conference in Cork as well as other members mounting a poster exhibition and having an information stand.  In June, MFIrl in solidarity with 'We the People' held a memorial cermony to mark the anniversary of the death of Esmin Greene who died from psychiatric neglect in Kings County Hospital, New York in 2007.

Inspired by Grainne HUmphries and in conjunction with Asylum Associates, MFIrl helped with the initial organising arrangements for the UCC Recovery Conference which was subsequently 'recovered' by Harry Gibjels and Lydia Sapouna from UCC when it seemed that, because of circumstances, it might not have come to pass. The two day conference 'Making Thriving a Reality; Towards and Beyond Mental Health Recovery' brought together a wide range of progressive thinking and included workshop presentations from Greg White and Mary Maddock.

MFIrl was also represented by Martin Hynes at an ENUSP conference in Brussells in March while in June, Dorothee Krien organised a visit by Dr.Betty Maritini who spoke at a public meeting on the issue of aspartame and the role it plays in adverse health effects.  With the help of Tony Christie, Colette Ni Dhuinneacha organised Labyrinth meetings ai the Laverna Centre, Cork.  They helped members to relax and unite with mutual support and solidarity.

Our third annual anti-shock protest took place in May with Martin Hynes, Kevin Foley, Colette Ni Dhuinneacha and Mary Maddock all giving public testimony to their negative experiences at a rally which was also addressed by disability campaigner and independent MEP Kathy Sinnott.  Many members were also present in Fitzgerald Park for the second Mad Pride Festival, organised by John McCarthy.

SUPPORT GROUP  One of our most notable achievements in the year was the setting up of our Wednesday support group 'Stand By Me'.  Meeting in the warm, everyday surrounds of Costa's Coffee Shop in Douglas, the group has a strong solid core of regular attenders and others who drop in from time to time.  Lively discussion, information exchange and fun are the main ingredients of the by now well established 'diary date'.  We also appreciate the support of The Society of Friends who offered the use of their Meeting Hall for our annual Christmas party.

CONNECTIONS  MindFreedom was once known as Support Coalition International and the philosophy of international as well as national mutual support is central too to the philosophy of MFIrl.  Already existing links with our sisters and brothers such as David oaks, Don Weitz (CAPA), Jim Gottstein (PsychRights), Patients Advocacy (New Zealand), ENUSP and WNUSP were maintained and strengthened.  In addition, we made new and valued connections with Barbara, Alison, Marion and Mkke from Elemental UK, Barney from MF Lancaster, Richard from NSUE Sligo and Debra from ENUSP.

 

CONCLUSION  MFIrl continues to thrive and its name and logo are gaining more and more national currency.  We are only as strong though as our committed and hardworking members, all with valuable contributions to make, which will be needed for the challenges ahead.  Our agenda for the future continues as before - to educate the public, to speak out against human rights abuse, to promote effective and humane alternatives and to encourage the formation of affiliate branches.

Jim Maddock,

31st Decenmber, 2009.

 

 

                                                                               MINDFREEDOM IRELAND ANNUAL REPORT 2008.

INTRODUCTION.  Now in its fifth year of existence, MFIrl continued its work as a vibrant, democratic organisation independent of government or pharmaceutical industry funding, striving towards its goal of a non-violent revolution in the 'mental health' system and the protection of the human rights of people caught up in that system.

MESSAGE THROUGH THE MEDIA.  The greatest asset to our campaign was the establishment of our new website - mindfreedomireland.com.  The site is updated on a regular basis and contains valuable information on events and news as well as providing vital links to other allied and useful sites.  Our appreciationn and gratitude go to Aymen Hafez, a student of Douglas Community School Cork for his help in establishing the site and also to Omar Yildirim for putting up our videos on You Tube.

MFIrl continued its campaign with letters to the national newspapers and a prominent anti-shock feature in the Sunday Independent, Ireland's biggest circulation Sunday newspaper.  An anthology of new poems by Lydia Walsh-Yildirim was accepted by The Mental Health Commission on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day Lecture in Dublin.  In addition, Mary Maddock wrote a number of new songs, one of which - Voices -  was adopted by the Hearing Voices Network as their anthem.  The book Soul Survivor was also reprinted and is now available in The Mad Market and from our website.

CONFERENCES.  MFIrl was represented at quite a number of conferences during the year.  These included the CROW/Altering Images Conference in University College, Cork which this year had rhe theme of 'Community, Recovery, Ownership, Wellbeing'.  Lydia, Mel O'Dea and Mary all delivered powerful presentations (See You Tube) as well as conducting, with the help of Greg White, a moving candlelight cermony for deperted founder-member Helena King accompanied by Alex singing the song 'Voices'.  The whole presentation was so well received that a request has been made for it to be repeated at the National Service Users inaugural conference which will be held in Cork on January 24th, 2009.

MFIrl was also represented at the Hearing Voices, CASA and Terence McLoughlin Memorial Conference held in Manchester in September and again at the Oldham Users' Conference.  As part of a series of events to mark World Mental Health Day in October, MFIrl had an information stand at the West Cork CROW/Altering Images 'Into the Light' conference organised by Noel Palmer and also at the WMD Festival organised by Pathways to Freedom, a committee inclusive of all service-user organisations in Cork city where we distributed relevant literature including our newly printed MFIrl information leaflet.

OTHER EVENTS.  In March Nuria O'Mahony spoke at the launch of the book 'Power, Politics and Pharmaceuticals' edited by Orla O'Donovan and Kathy Glavis-Grantham in UCC.  Also in the spring, Colette Ni Dhuinneachain represented MFIrl at the inaugural meeting of the National Service Users' Executive.  Our second annual anti-shock protest took place outside the GPO in Cork in May on a beautiful day compared to the deluge of 2007.  Approximately 12 MFIrl members distributed facts on electro-shock and some delivered public speeches on their personal experiences.  In a generally bad summer weather-wise,  MFIrl attended John McCarthy's Mad Pride Festival in Fitzgerald Park which fortunately was bathed in sunshine on the day.  The festival received nation-wide tv coverage.  Another 'fun' event was the Cork Women's Mini-Marathon in which a number or real and 'disguised' female MFIrl members participated to raise badly needed funds.

In June, MFIrl had an information stand at the CCHR Exhibition in the City Hall and nine members - Lydia, Colette, Mel, Maria, Dorothy, Mary, Kevin, Martin and Brendan - delivered excellent testimonies under the banner of Survivors Speak Out.  MFIrl also organised a vigil in memory of Esmin Elizabeth Green, the woman who was left to die on the floor of a waiting room in Kings County Hospital, New York in June.  In July, MFIrl held a peaceful protest outside the gates of the Irish parliament, the Dail and later attended the debate in the Senate in support of Dr. Michael Corry's sponsored Private Members Bill to amend the 2001 Mental Health Act to ban enforced electro-shock. 

In August MFIrl members were in Dublin again, all at their own expense, to meet with Amnesty Ireland and provide them with our perspective on the human rights aspect of their current mental health campaign.  MFIrl was again represented at another consultative meeting organised by Amnesty in October, consultations which are still ongoing.

On an international level, contact was maintained with a number of sister groups including Anna de Jonge and Patients' Rights Advocacy in New Zealand, Mary Nettle and Peter Lehman and ENUSP in Europe, Tina Minkowitz and WNUSP in New York, Moosa Salie and WNUSP in South Africa (MFIrl was present for the signing of The Cape Town Declaration calling for respect for the human rights of people with psycho/social difficulties), Jim Gottstein and Psychrights in Alaska, Don Weitz and CAPA in Toronto, Sue Clarke and ICBE (International Campaign to Ban Electro-shock) in Ottawa, Helene Grandbois, anti-shock campaigner in Quebec and of course, David Oaks and MindFreedom in USA. In December, MFIrl was active in supporting the campaign to highligh the forced electro-shocking of Ray Sandford in Minnesota.   Our final event was a Christmas drinks and get-together fun night at a city hotel.

CONCLUSION.  All in all, the members of MFIrl can be proud of what they achieved during the year.  From a small base we have been fortunate to attract some new, young and active people who have raised our overall morale.  The MFIrl name and logo is gaining increasing currency and recognition on the national stage where, I think it is fair to say, we are punching above our weight.  The new year however, will still confront us with many challenges.  A priority will be to continue to press for changes in The Mental Health Act in relation to electro-shock.  We will also continue to lobby the Irish government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled.  We will continue to further educate the public and speak out on the human rights abuses in the system.  We aim to promote effective and humane alternatives, empower our members, existing and new, to be 'mad proud' and encourage the formation of affiliate branches in other countries in Europe.

Beannacht De ar an obair!

Jim Maddock,

31st December, 2008.

 

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 GROUPOur ‘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’.

 

 

 

CONFERENCESThe 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 stalwartMartin 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.

 

 

 

MEDIAIn the run-upto 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 EVENTSThanks 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, Corkin 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.

 

 

 

CONNECTIONSMFIrl 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 anniversaryand 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.

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 UniversityCollegeCork 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’Conference 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 7,000 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 CarrigalineCourtHotel 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 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.

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