Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Resolution Against Electroshock

passed by MindFreedom (f/k/a Support Coalition International) board of directors June 28, 2001

The Board of Directors of Support Coalition International (now MindFreedom) unanimously and strongly condemns the psychiatric procedure of electroshock (“electroconvulsive therapy”,”ECT”)) as a serious human rights violation. It is our informed opinion, based on common sense, personal experience and scientific knowledge, that electroshock is a crime against humanity. It directly violates section 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which outlaws “cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment or punishment”, and the UN Convention Against Torture. It is our informed opinion that electroshock constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. We also believe that virtually all electroshock is forcibly administered – that is, without genuine, fully informed consent.

We want electroshock abolished for these reasons:

1. Electroshock always causes brain damage.

2. Electroshock always causes permanent memory loss.

3. Electroshock always causes learning disabilities and other intellectual impairments.

4. Electroshock often arouses fear or terror in patients.

5. Even by conventional psychiatic standards, electroshock has an extremely high relapse rate – over 70% within one year.

6. Electroshock does not significantly relieve “depression” or prevent suicide. In fact, several research studies indicate that electroshock can aggravate or trigger depression and suicide attempts: the Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway killed himself shortly after undergoing a second series of electroshock.

7. Psychiatrists frequently violate the ethical-legal principle of informed consent when prescribing/ordering electroshock. Subjects are not informed or misinformed about the procedure’s harmful effects. Nor are they informed about humane, non-injurious, non-medical approaches such as counselling (including peer counselling), self-help groups, and life-style changes.

8. Electroshock discriminates against highly vulnerable people. Its chief targets are women and the elderly. Children are also being subjected to electroshock in growing numbers. In the United States and Canada, more than 70% of electroshock is administered to women, and upwards of half of those undergoing electroshock are 60 years of age and older.

9. Electroshock machines have never been independently inspected or approved for their medical safety. Since 1978, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States government has officially placed shock machines in its most dangerous medical-device category: class III, ” hazardous” or “unsafe”.

10. Electroshock has caused many deaths. Such deaths are routinely minimized or under-reported in the medical-psychiatric literature. Rarely are psychiatrists or ECT facilities required to report electroshock-caused deaths, or any other information concerning their use of ECT to governmental regulatory bodies.

Board of Directors Support Coalition International (now known as MindFreedom)


Mary Maddock’s Petition Against Forced Drugging

The Illegality of Ireland’s Mental Health Act of 2001 as it Concerns the Forced Use of Mind Altering Drugs on Unwilling Patients

Petition by: Mary Maddock
Petition Host: Kathy Sinnott, MEP from Ireland South

My ‘treatment’ began in 1976 after the birth of my first child. With little or no discussion it was decided I needed medical treatment, i.e. drugs, mainly a nueroleptic called largactil, and a little later ECT as I had a chemical imbalance in my brain, without having any medical tests to make this diagnoses. I believe this to be the same as forced treatment, and I was forcefully treated with so many injections that to this day I remember the pain and soreness from the many shots.

I got no information about the treatment I received and was not capable of evaluating it myself as it is proven now that nueroleptic drugs cause a chemical lobotomy. I know this to be true from personal experience as simple tasks were a nightmare to perform and I was out of touch with my emotions.

I managed to survive this first onslaught for 7 yrs, but in 1982 I was a victim of psychiatry again and soon I was diagnosed as a manic depressive and was chemically lobotomised once again, this time by three different substances: largactil, surmontil and lithium. I remained on a combination of drugs for almost 20 yrs: on lithium and largactil for most of the time and on all three drugs for over 10 yrs.

I am now completely free from drugs for over 7 yrs and at almost 60 years old am leading a healthy and free life in body, mind, and spirit.

With the adoption of the Mental Health Act of 2001 (MHA), Ireland’s doctors now have the ability to legally force an unwilling patient to continue to take medication for real or perceived mental illness. The applicable text of sec. 60 reads:

60- Where medicine has been administered to a patient for the purposes of ameliorating his or her mental disorder for a continuous period of 3 months, the administration of that medicine shall not be continued unless either:
(a) the patient gives his or her consent in writing to the continued administration of that medicine, or
(b) where the patient is unable or unwilling to give such consent:
(i) the continued administration of that medicine is approved by the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient, and
(ii) the continued administration of that medicine is authorised (in a form specified by the Commission) by another consultant psychiatrist following referral of the matter to him or her by the first-mentioned psychiatrist

The ramifications of this section of the MHA are startling, as what happened to myself can now be forced upon unwilling Irish citizens if two doctors believe it to be in the best interest of the patient, even without any objective standards of testing.

My friend and colleague John McCarthy was a delegate to the UN in regards to the recent convention on the rights of the disabled. The treaty, as originally worded in art. 17, left open a number of loopholes which would have allowed States Parties the ability to force involuntary treatment on a patient. His lobbying helped rewrite art. 12 so that it now reads that “every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others.” Furthermore, art. 14 states that the disabled shall enjoy the same rights to liberty and security of their persons as the non-disabled, and that the existence of a disability does not “justify a depravation of liberty.” As of 30 March, 2007, both Ireland and the EU are signatories to the convention, and it is therefore binding law on both bodies.

Even before this, the Council of Europe created Europe’s most important human rights document, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950), which offers protection inter alia of privacy (Article 8); against inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3); against arbitrary deprivation of liberty (Article 5); and against discrimination in conjunction with other substantive rights (Article 14). I recognize that the EU does not have the authority to enforce these articles, but this document set the precedent for the above UN convention, and is binding on Ireland and every other nation that is current member state of the EU.

I strongly believe that the above portion of the MHA are in clear violation of international law, and respectfully ask that the EU, via the petitions committee, recommend that the involuntary forced use of mind altering medications in Ireland be stopped immediately.

Petition against forced drugging from MindFreedom founder Mary Maddock

At a meeting in Cork last night (Thursday June 28th), human rights activist Mary Maddock, psychiatric survivor and founder-member of MindFreedom Ireland presented her petition to the EU Petitions Committee, currently touring Ireland.Her petition is entitled ‘The Illegality of Ireland’s Mental Health Act of 2001 as it Concerns the Forced Use of Mind Altering Drugs on Unwilling Patients.”

A second petition on the same issue was presented by John McCarthy, well known activist who stood as a candidate in the recent general election specifically on the issue of mental health.

The Petitions Committee, which is gathering petitions on a number of different issues, includes Irish MEPs Kathy Sinnott, Mairead McGuinness and Proinsais De Rossa. Ms. Sinnott is Vice-Chair of the Committee.

Support statement of anti-shock demo by Leonard Frank

San Francisco, 12 May 2007

Greetings to all my friends participating in the anti-electroshock demonstrations (“STOP SHOCKING OUR MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS”) on Mother’s Day in Toronto, Montreal, Cork (Ireland), and Eugene (Oregon).

My congratulations to each of you for protesting the use of the barbaric psychiatric procedure known as electroshock, or ECT.

These demonstrations are needed now more than ever before.

According to a leading ECT proponent, one to two million people worldwide are being electroshocked every year. And the numbers are growing.

Electroshock is psychiatry’s shock-and-awe “treatment.”

Electroshock is psychiatry’s weapon of mass brain destruction.

Electroshock is a brainwashing method disguised as a medical treatment. One electroshock psychiatrist described the effect of intensive ECT in this way: “Their minds are like clean slates upon which we can write.”

Electroshock is a brutal, dehumanizing, memory-destroying, intelligence-lowering, brain-damaging, life-threatening technique.

Electroshock robs people of their memories, their beliefs, their hopes, their personality and their humanity.

Electroshock reduces the capacity of people to lead full, meaningful lives, and crushes their spirit.

Electroshock is a method for gutting the brain in order to control and punish people who fall or step out of line, and intimidate others who are on the verge of doing so.

Electroshock is an atrocity. Even though sanctioned by the state, it is still an atrocity. What is legal is not necessarily right. It is well to remember that the Inquisition, slavery and the Holocaust were all, in their time, legal.

Electroshock has no place in a free society, and no society in which it is used is truly free.

We need to stop electroshock and we need to stop it now.

My thoughts and good wishes are with each of you on this occasion. May it be for those struggling against electroshock one of our finest hours.

Leonard Roy Frank

Drugging Ontario’s Kids- Letter to Globe and Mail

June 14, 2007

Letters Editor
The Globe and Mail

Dear Editor –
Your informative article re the drugging of children under the “care” of Ontario Children’s Aid Societies is another shameful and disturbing example of psychiatry-and-state sanctioned child abuse (“Nearly half of children in Crown care are medicated”, June 9). No doubt tens of thousands of other children in Ontario and other provinces are being drugged with the super dangerous stimulant Ritalin and other addictive psychiatric drugs after they’ve been labeled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (‘ADHD’) – another so-called “mental disorder” exposed as a fraud by pediatric neurologist Fred Baughman Jr. – and other pseudo-medical diagnoses For authoritative information re the devastating effects of psychiatric drugs on children, I urge readers and child advocates to read these consciousness-raising books: Your Drug May Be Your Problem (1999) by psychiatrist Peter Breggin and social scientist-researcher David Cohen, and The War Against Children (1994) by Dr. Breggin and Ginger Ross Breggin (1994).
Don Weitz

Drugged Children – An expedient answer to a government’s problem

Saturday’s Globe and Mail has a shocking article about how the provincial government sanctions the over-medication of children who are wards of the Crown.

Psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to nearly half the Crown wards in a sample of Ontario children’s aid societies, kindling fears that the agencies are overusing medication with the province’s most vulnerable children.

“These children have lots of issues and the quickest and easiest way to deal with it is to put them on medication, but it doesn’t really deal with the issues,” said child psychiatrist Dick Meen, clinical director of Kinark Child and Family Services, the largest children’s mental health agency in Ontario.

Children who are removed from parental care under court order typically have to deal with a wide range of psycho-social issues that all too often manifest as behavioural problems. Rather than giving them the support they need to deal with the trauma of removal – let alone the traumas that spurred the removal order in the first place, assuming it was truly justified – government-sanctioned workers turn to controlling medications instead. The article goes on:

 “There are lots of other kids like that,” said Dr. McKay, one of the experts on the government panel. “If you look at the group homes, it’s close to 100 per cent of the kids who are on not just one drug, but on drug cocktails with multiple diagnoses.

“There are too many kids being diagnosed with…a whole range of disorders that are way out of proportion to the normal population. …It’s just not reasonable to think the children in care would have such over-representation in these rather obscure disorders.”

The report from a government investigation into the case obtained by The Globe uncovered group home staff untrained in the use and side effects of the psychotropic drugs they were doling out; no requests from the psychiatrist to monitor the boy for problems, and little evidence of efforts to treat the boy’s apparent mental-health issues other than with heavy-duty pharmaceuticals.

There needs to be a complete moratorium on prescribing such medications for children, together with calling a public inquiry into the over-medication of children in care, the over-medication of children because of teacher/school pressure, and the problematic of completely inadequate oversight of Children’s Aid Societies and their workers throughout this province. For once, won’t someone in power truly think of the children who have none.

Sue Clark’s Story online

Hello everyone, I have my story online now called “Behind the Locked Ward” I have six chapters up now and will write more chapters to finish my story.

The URL is:

My website exposing the harm done by ECT is at the URL:

I welcome feedback. My email is:

Sue Clark-Wittenberg, June 5, 2007

Sue Clark wrote a poem about ECT


by Sue Clark-Wittenberg, 2007

The day I got my first ECT
I recall the room was white
the nurses wore white
the doctor wore white
and I was white as a sheet with fright

I lay on my back on the bed
with wires put on both sides of my head
a rubber band put on my forehead
and a rubber mallet stuck in between my teeth

I was scared to death, terrified
I wanted to jump up and run
but I could not
I saw the ECT machine
right to my left
and knew that horrible machine
was going to be turned on
any minute
and it would hurt my brain
and it did

I woke up after the ECT
dizzy, confused and did
not know who I was
where I was

I was put in a wheelchair
I missed my breakfast
and had to wait for lunch

a peer on my ward
told me many years later
that when the staff grabbed me
to take me to the ECT room
I screamed, kicked and bit the
staff and hollered
“Somebody, anybody, please
help me”
But nobody did

ECT hurt my brain
No one told me the
truth about what ECT
would do to me
because nobody cared

So that is why I want ECT the atrocity that it is
to be banned, to end,
to stop now
so no one else has to
go through the torture
like I did which is called ECT


New Anti-Psychiatry Blog

A new blog has just been started in advance of the upcoming World Congress of Psychiatry in Dresden, Germany. The basic position taken by the “Outlaw Psychiatry Now!” blog is, “psychiatry is a tool for oppression used against ordinary people under the cover of “Medical Specialty” to secure and perpetuate the rule of big business.” Among many other things, the blog recalls the verdict of the Foucault trial on the state of psychiatry that was held 9 years ago in Berlin:

Psychiatry cannot pretend to the art of healing, having violated the Hippocratic Oath through a conscious use of harmful drugs, which caused in particular the world wide epidemic of tardive dyskinesia, as well as other interventions which we recognize as tortures: involuntary confinement, forced drugging, four point restraints, electroshock, all forms of psychosurgery and outpatient commitment.

Much more is on the blog, including testimony, activism and advocacy.

Electroshock Presentation at OISE on Monday, June 4

CAPA director, Bonnie Burstow, reports:

I will be doing a presentation on electroshock at the 4th Critical Multicultural Counselling Conference at OISE. I will be in the Paper Session No 6, which is happening tomorrow [Monday, June 4, 2007] from 10:30-12:30. While all others parts of this conference are only open to people who have paid, the 6th session will be open to the public, at my request. So do feel free to come. I don’t know what rooms things will be in, but hopefully that will be easy to find out if you get here in good time.

OISE is at  252 Bloor Street West, between St. George and Bedford, in Toronto. If coming by transit take the Bloor-Danforth subway line to the St. George station.