Anti-shock Statements in my Advocacy Award Acceptance Speech

These excerpts are from my acceptance speech after the Mental Health Legal Committee presented shock survivor Carla McKague, psychiatric survivor-advocate Randy Pritchard, mental health lawyer Anita Szigeti and me with its first advocacy awards on April 27, 2007 in Toronto. I felt very honoured. – Don

Many people including health professionals seem shocked when I tell them electroshock (“ECT”) was never banned but has actually increased during the last 10 years. Electroshock today is more dangerous and brain-damaging than it was 10-20 years ago – more electrical energy (150-300 volts) is required to override the higher seizure thresholds resulting from the drugs. Despite what the Canadian Psychiatric Association claims in its “ECT” position papers, virtually very shock treatment causes small hemorrhages and rapid and sudden rises in blood pressure in the brain and heart, and a host of many other effects including physical weakness, migraine-type headache, difficulty concentrating and learning new material, especially permanent memory loss and brain damage. The shock doctors call the grand mal, epileptic-like seizure caused by electroshock “therapeutic”. Nonsense, ridiculous! The “ECT” statistics I’ve collected for over 25 years from the Ontario government’s Ministry of Health clearly show that “ECT” has in fact increased over the last 10 years. In year 2003-2004, over 14,000 electroshocks were administered in Ontario, about 70% of the shocked patients were women, roughly half were 60 years and older, many were 80-90 years old, two to three times more women than men have been shocked. Electroshock is another form of violence against women and elder abuse–more evidence of how psychiatry preys on the more vulnerable among us.

Because the Ontario government has refused to call public hearings into electroshock, the Ontario Coalition to Stop Electroshock held 3 days of public hearings on electroshock in October 1984; in April 2005 the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) also held two days of public hearings, and on May13, Mother’s Day, it held a very a successful demonstration demanding, “Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers”. This so-called “safe, effective and lifesaving” treatment for depression and other types of so-called “mental illness” has already caused a virtual pandemic of brain damage and permanent memory loss. The vast majority of shock survivors and relatives, health professionals, and human rights activists who have publicly and courageously testified against electroshock in Toronto and other major cities in Canada, the United States, the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand have condemned electroshock and want it banned. I agree absolutely.

Psychiatric survivors and social justice and human rights activists must continue protesting against electroshock, forced drugging and other health-threatening psychiatric abuses masquerading as “safe and effective treatment” because they seriously threaten people’s health and lives, because they violate our human rights. With advocates like you, we will overcome.

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