A public protest against the controversial psychiatric procedure of electroshock took place in Cork on Saturday.
It was organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a psychiatric survivor group which campaigns for alternatives and against human rights abuse and forced treatments.
Among the speakers were 2 women in their 60’s who spoke of the enduring memory loss and cognitive dysfunction they experienced afterwards.
Responding to claims that electroshock today is new, safe and effective, one of the women said there was no difference between now and when she had it over 40 years ago. It was and still is a traumatic experience visited upon people who were already traumatised and vulnerable.
Twice as many women than men were shocked today while research from Trinity College and the Scottish ECT Accreditation Network saying it was effective was less than impartial being conducted by people who were in favour of the procedure.
It was also stated that the recent removal of the word ‘unwilling’ from Section 59b of The Mental Health Act in effect made little difference as legally, a person deemed ‘unable’ will be considered to lack capacity and with the agreement of 2 psychiatrists, can still be forcefully subjected to the procedure.
Another speaker said that psychiatry was the only branch of medicine that deliberately induced seizures in the name of help. While it says that it is “an important and necessary treatment”, the truth was that many psychiatrists themselves refused to utilise it and that 2 European countries, Slovenia and Luxembourg, had totally banned its use.
The protest, the 8th organised by MindFreedom Ireland, took place in torrential rain and was attended by people from many parts of the country and also by members of The Irish Critical Voices Network which is a network of people from diverse backgrounds who want an Irish mental health system which is not based on the traditional bio-medical model.