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.

Founded in 2004, MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International and with them, campaigns for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system.

 

PUBLICATIONS.   

 

The year commenced with the launch of two books.  The first 'Knowledge in Mental Health; Reclaiming the Social' was edited by MF Ireland member and University College Cork lecturer Lydia Sapouna in conjunction with Peter Lehmann.  The second ˜Soul Survivor - A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry' by Mary and Jim Maddock was launched by active disability campaigner Kathy Sinnott, MEP in Dublin in January, an event also attended by Tim O'Malley, the Irish government minister with responsibility for mental health and  Grainne Humphrys (along with Josh, MF Ireland's youngest member) who read her wonderful poem. In April, the Irish government Report on the Adverse Effects of Pharmaceuticals was published.  MF Ireland members John McCarthy, Greg White, Mary Maddock and especially Nuria O'Mahony had given evidence at the earlier committee hearings and helped in no small way in highlighting the issue.  Plans are afoot to organise a follow-up conference in U.C.C. in the autumn of 2008.

 

MEDIA CAMPAIGN.

 

A media campaign in which MF Ireland members spoke on national radio and had letters and articles published in the national press continued throughout the year.  Linking with the media campaign, John McCarthy stood as a candidate in the general election held in May.  Many MF Ireland members formed part of his election campaign team and while John failed to win a seat, he succeeded in focusing media and political attention on health issues in general and mental health issues in particular.  In addition, new member Lidia Walsh spoke very eloquently on Newstalk, the national talk radio station while another significant success was the dropping of an offensive advertisement from the national press due to representations made by MF Ireland in conjunction with Depression Dialogues.

 

PROTEST.

 

A highlight of the year was Ireland's first electroshock public protest held in solidarity with similar protests in Canada and the U.S in May.  Despite apaaling weather conditions on the day, the event attracted support from a number of politicians including Green party TD Dan Boyle.  A special thanks is due to Mel O'Dea and Tim Nyhan for organising the electroshock facts and statistics leaflets and to Martin Hynes and Colette Ni Dhuinneacha who made their maiden public speeches on the issue.  A prominent report on the protest was carried in The Irish Times of the following day.

 

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS.

 

Mf Ireland was represented at a number of conferences both at home and abroad throughout the year.  These included the Cork Advocacy Network conference on Mental Health and the Law, the WPA conference in Dresden in June, the Wisdom House 3 day conference Creative Revolution; Turning our Minds Around in Connecticut in July, the Dublin City University Health4Life conference in September and the Manchester Recovery conference in November.  On World Mental Health Day in October, MF Ireland members Martin Hynes, Maria O'Mahony, Lidia Walsh and Mary Maddock manned the MF Ireland information stand in UCC while on the same day Colette Ni Dhuinneacha and John McCarthy represented MF Ireland at the launch of the government's National Service Users Executive Strategic Plan 2007-2009 in Dublin.  A number of other members also spoke in public fora throughout the year.  Dorothee Krien and Mel O'Dea spoke at the Mind, Body Spirit conference in Cork while Mary and John did likewise in Dublin.

In June, Mary and John, on the advice of Kathy Sinnott, Vice-Chair of the Committee, submitted a petition to the European Commission Petitions Committee then touring Ireland.  Their petition entitled ˜The illegality of Ireland's Mental Health Act of 2001 as it concerns the forced use of mind-altering drugs on unwilling patients' was accepted by the Commission in Brussels who have promised to investigate the matter further.

MF Ireland established close links with fellow organisations throughout the year, in particular with Patients Rights Advocacy in New Zealand, the Soteria network in Britain, Psychrights in Alaska, CAPA in Canada and Depression Dialogues in Ireland.  Mary Maddock is currently working to encourage the establishment of new MindFreedom International affiliates in other European countries.

 

DEPARTED FRIENDS.

 

MF Ireland would like to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of Dr. Terence McLoughlin, Director of Asylum, whose untimely death occurred in September.  Terence was a lifelong campaigner for the rights of the underdog and our good friend.  Finally, the year ended on a further poignant note with a remembrance event on December 28 to mark the first anniversary of the death of one of our founder-members, Helena King. It is the unquenchable spirit of Terence and Helena which will sustain us as we commence what we hope will be another successful year.   

Jim Maddock,
December 31st, 2007

PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVOR GROUP MARKS 10 YEARS OF PROTEST.

 

On Saturday May 13th, psychiatric survivor group MindFreedom Ireland will mark 10 years of protest against the controversial procedure of electroshock with a public demonstration on The Grand Parade, Cork.

 

Increasingly worldwide, shock recipients are speaking out against the outdated and brain damaging procedure in the face of concerted campaigns by psychiatry to say it is safe and effective.

 

In the welter of information and misinformation being circulated, certain facts need to be clearly stated.

 

Firstly, by their own admission doctors do not know how it is supposed to work.  Secondly, deliberately provoking a grand mal seizure is at the heart of the procedure.  Thirdly, doctors also now admit that permanent memory loss can  be the result.

 

So controversial is the procedure that many psychiatrists themselves refuse to administer it.

 

Recipients relate how entire segments of their lives have been obliterated with their decision-making capacity severely curtailed.  Many say they were not given full knowledge of the adverse side effects before being pressurised into giving their consent.

 

Under the Mental Health Act 2001 an Advance Directive in which a person  states they do not want electroshock is not legally binding.

 

Typically, a single programme of electroshock can be up to twelve individual 'treatments', usually twice a week.  The most recent figures available show that over 2,000 'treatments' were administered in Ireland in 2015.

 

The protest commences at 2pm outside Bishop Lucey park.  MindFreedom Ireland campaigns for equal human rights for all and against forced psychiatry.  It calls for a total ban on electroshock as is the case in Luxembourg and Slovenia.

 

End.

 

MindFreedom Ireland, Cork.

Ph: 021 4894303.  Mob: 087 3893830.

MINDFREEDOM IRELAND PRESS RELEASE.

 

UN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST TO SPEAK IN CORK

 

U.S. lawyer and human rights activist Tina Minkowitz will speak at a public meeting in Cork on January 20th.

 

Ms Minkowitz is a former co-chairperson of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) and is founder of the Centre for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.

 

She represented WNUSP in the drafting and negotiation of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in New York in 2007 and is credited with much of the advanced thinking of the CRPD in the area of legal capacity, liberty and respect for the integrity of the person, in effect providing human rights campaigners with a new foundation for challenging established standards in 'mental health' care. 

 

To date 160 countries have formally ratified the Convention.  The continuing Lunacy Regulation Act 1871 which condemned people to the status of non-citizens had caused problems for the Irish government and even though the long awaited Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was finally signed into law on 30th December 2015, issues surrounding 'mental capacity' and 'legal capacity' still remain, leaving Ireland one of only 11 countries, 10 years later, still to ratify the Convention.

 

In Cork, Ms Minkowitz will speak about her Absolute Prohibition Campaign which calls for a total and absolute ban on involuntary detention and forced treatment of people with psycho-social disabilities.  She says that too often the pain and suffering resulting from forced psychiatry is not acknowledged or is made to seem insignificant with the testimonies of survivors frequently disbelieved.

 

Fear and terror, disassociation from mind and body, brain damage including memory loss, deprivation of privacy and subjection to the will of others, withdrawal syndrome from psychiatric drugs, diabetes and damage to organs such as liver, kidney and thyroid are among the many effects experienced, making forced psychiatry a focal point for discrimination.

 

Ms Minkowitz has given expert presentations to the UN, government and NGOs in several countries and consults with interested parties analysing draft legislation in light of the CRPD.  She comes to Cork from Galway where she addressed a conference in UCG on 'Consent and Refusal: Mental Health Human Rights and the Law'.

 

As a worldwide initiative, her Absolute Prohibition Campaign is open to all survivors and non-survivors, relatives, lawyers, researchers, academics, service providers and journalists so long as they actually support the aim of prohibiting and abolishing all involuntary commitment and forced treatment.

 

The talk is being organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor and support group which for the past 14 years has been also campaigning for the same objectives.

 

It takes place in Bru Columbanus, Wilton, Cork on Friday January 20th at 7.00 pm.  Admission is free but donations are welcome.

 

End.

 

Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,

Cork.

January 9, 2017.

086 0624445.

www.mindfreedomireland.com

 

 

                                                       Tina Minkowitz

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