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

PERSISTENT PROTESTORS CONTINUE CAMPAIGN.

For the 11th year running, yet another public protest against the psychiatric procedure of electroshock took place on The Grand Parade, Cork on Saturday.

 

During the procedure, an electric current is passed through the brain of an anaesthetised person to deliberately induce a grand mal seizure.  Psychiatrists defend the practice by claiming it is beneficial for severely depressed people who have not responded to drug ‘treatment’.

 

Recent figures indicate that almost 250 people are electroshocked in Ireland every year.  Two thirds of them are women and many are elderly.

 

The Saturday protest heard testimony from people who said that rather than helping them, they endured lasting memory loss and brain damage leaving them with reduced cognitive capacity.

 

One grandmother spoke of how, after being electroshocked 3 days after the birth of her child, she still has no recollection of the event.

 

Another speaker put the use of the procedure in the wider context of psychiatry’s belief in a bio-medical model of people with broken brains which can be ‘fixed’ by a surge of electricity.  A more humane and empathetic approach was required, he said.

 

While a recent amendment to the Mental Health Act removed the word ‘unwilling’ in relation to people not wanting the procedure, it left intact the word ‘unable’ which, in effect, still leaves the decision in the hands of two psychiatrists.  Furthermore, the Act also allows for the overruling of any Advance Directive in which a person has stated they did not want the procedure.

 

The protest was organised by MIndFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns against the abuse of human rights in psychiatry and is opposed to forced ‘treatments’ including forced drugging and electroshock.

 

It was part of a wider International Day of Protest Against Electroshock on May 12th which saw similar protests in several countries around the world.

 

Jim Maddock, MindFreedom Ireland, May13th 2018. Mob. 086 0624445.

www.mindfreedomireland.com



MINDFREEDOM IRELAND PRESS RELEASE

     7th MAY 2018.

 

PROTEST AGAINST CONTROVERSIAL PSYCHIATRIC ELECTROSHOCK.

 

A protest against the controversial psychiatric practice of electroshock, still used in Irish hospitals today, will take place in Cork next Saturday, May 12th.

 

The procedure, carried out under general anaesthetic, involves passing an electric current through a person’s brain sufficient to cause a grand mal epileptic seizure.

 

Proponents cannot say definitely how it works but reserve the right to administer it.  Opponents say there is no scientific evidence that so-called mental illnesses exist and equally that there are no biological markers to prove that electroshock works, even as it definitely causes cognitive impairment and permanent memory loss.

 

The latest figures from The Mental Health Commission show that electroshock was given to 243 people in Ireland in 2015, two thirds of them women.

 

The protest is the 10th organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns for human rights and against forced treatment.

 

It is being held this year to coincide with a ‘First Do No Harm’ protest against the American Psychiatric Association  held in New York last Sunday and the worldwide International Protest to Ban Shock Treatment on May 12th.

 

It takes place at 2pm outside the park on The Grand Parade, Cork and testimony will be given by people who have had personal experience of the procedure.

 

END

 

Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,

Cork

May 7th, 2018.

Phone: 086 0624445.

SURVIVOR OF PSYCHIATRY TO ADDRESS WORLD PSYCHIATRIC CONGRESS
 
Cork woman Mary Maddock and her husband Jim have been invited to speak at the XV11 World Congress of Psychiatry to be held in Berlin, October 8th to 12th.
 
The Maddocks are joint authors of the book 'Soul Survivor - A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry' which challenges psychiatry's medical model of 'treatment' and describes how they rejected the label of Bipolar given to Mrs. Maddock in 1983 and who today, has been drug free for the past 18 years.
 
Their story also featured in the the book 'Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs' by German author and publisher Peter Lehmann who will be a keynote speaker in Berlin and is a  fellow survivor.
 
Founded in 1961 with headquarters in Geneva, the World Psychiatric Association is the world's largest organization of mental health professionals, representing 118 different countries and more than 200,000 psychiatrists.
 
Meeting once every three years, the theme of the Berlin congress is 'Psychiatry of the 21st century: Context, Controversies and Commitment'.
 
In 2003, the Maddocks founded MindFreedom Ireland which campaigns for humane alternatives to the current 'mental health' system.  It is affiliated to MindFreedom International and with them is opposed to forced 'treatment', the use of electroshock and other human rights violations, including those inherent in the 2001 Irish Mental Health Act.
 
It is also aligned with the Critical Voices Network Ireland (CVNI), a network of people from diverse backgrounds who want an Irish mental health system which is not based on the traditional bio-medical model and will participate in the annual two day CVNI conference in Cork to be held in the UCC School of Nursing in November.
 
End.
 
Jim Maddock
2nd October, 2017.
Ph: 0214894303;0860624445 

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