Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

10 Reasons to Ban Electroshock/Mother’s Day Protest,Montreal

Gathering in Montreal
Saturday May 10th 2008
Honouring Mother’s Day

Quebec Committee to ban ECT

Say No to ECT!

• Two out of three electroshocks are given to women!
• Women over 60 get the most ECT!

Lets stop violence against women, mothers and grand-mothers!

Organized by Pare-Chocs, a committee to ban ECT, in collaboration with Action-Autonomy, a rights group in mental health in Montreal.

10 reasons for banning ECT:

1. ECT is oppressive, violent – a violation of the integrity and dignity of the person.
2. Past and recent studies have proven that ECT is not an effective treatment.
3. Vulnerable people serve as guinea pigs for this experimental “treatment”.
4. ECT can cause death.
5. ECT causes brain damage.
6. ECT can cause permanent memory loss.
7. ECT can cause cognitive impairments and learning disabilities.
8. The side effects of ECT are numerous: confusion, headaches, weakness, insomnia, heart problems and impact on one’s social life.
9. ECT does not improve one’s health or quality of life.
10. ECT is a controversial issue even among the scientific community.


Sue Clark’s letter to CBC Ombudsman re shock article


May 16, 2008

Vince Carlin
Ombudsman/CBC Radio and Television

Hello Mr. Carlin.

My name is Sue Clark-Wittenberg and I live in Ottawa. I was featured recently in a CBC article entitled: “Despite criticism, electroshock therapy commonly used in depression”

The article I feel was unfair and biased for severeal reasons:

I. only two lines was devoted to me. It did not mention that I was the director of the International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE) It did not state that I suffer from permanent memory loss and have a difficult time to learn new things and have I have been free of psychiatry since 1990. Also the article did not mention that I was forced to undergo ECT and that on my 5th ECT my heart stopped. I was l7 years old still classified as a child and that was not mentioned.

The article did not mention that I went to Carleton University in 1995 and I had to discontinue my studies in Ottawa as I could not retain what I was learning. I sent Mark Quinn a CBC reporter who called me all of the above information by email. Mark Quinn only talked to me for a few minutes, it was not an interview at all. I shall forward you the three emails I sent Mr. Quinn so you know he had all of the above information and more.

2. the article is mostly pro-ECT

3. Dr Peter Breggin is calld “Paul Breggin” Paul is not his first name. His name is Dr. Peter Breggin and it does not state he is a psychiatrist, just a doctor. It does not state why ECT should be banned as Dr. Breggin says.

4. The Canadian Psychiatric Association gives false information about ECT.
ECT is not safe nor the ECT machines according to Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr. John
Friedberg, neurologist in the USA, and Dr. John Breeding in Austin Texas.

5. Again the mainstream media treats psychiatric survivors with little or no respect and leaves out the most information we have to give. This article dismisses my claims that ECT always causes brain damage and it does. Dr. Peter R. Breggin a psychiatrist in the USA wrote a book called “Electroshock and Its Brain Disabling Effects”

6. There have been an important ECT study done by Dr. Harold Sackeim in the USA in 2007 that says that ECT damages the brain and this study was not quoted in this article.

7. This was sloppy journalism at its best, whoever wrote this did not do their homework and research the brain damage caused by ECT and there is lots of data out there, one only has to google “brain damage by ECT” and see the evidence for themselves.

8. This story is biased mostly for the side of people having positive views about ECT. Not one ECT survivor except myself were quoted. I could have supplied some phone numbers for CBC of other ECT survivors like myself

9. In this story I am reduced to nothing more than a woman who claims she was brain damaged the rest of the story discredits me in my claim by the other psychiatrists saying ECT is good and safe.

10. CBC must ensure they are producing fair articles that are not biased.

11. I want a reply to my email.


Sue Clark-Wittenberg
International Campaign
to Ban Electroshock (ICBE)
Ottawa (613) 721-1833

“Electroshock is a crime against humanity”


More shock info & articles from antipsychiatry activist Sue Clark

Here are two articles and a video re the ECT protest yesterday in Ottawa. The first one is from the CBC national news. There was a radio show yesterday on CBC radio at 7:30 p.m. I was told and there was a whole show on ECT. I will try to get the transcript. The first article from the CBC they put in Dr. Peter Breggin’s’ name wrong, and put in “Paul Breggin”.

The second article from said in the article “patients” I have free of psychiatry since 1990 and have not been a patient since then.

The ICBE plans to have ECT protests weekly on Wednesday starting next week at the Canadian Psychiatric Association on Laurier Ave in Ottawa so they don’t forget who we are and that we know that they position papers on ECT are false information. ECT always damages the brain.

We will be holding the ECT protest every year on Mother’s Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The video of the protest can be see at: go to section called “video” and click on “CTV Ottawa: CTV News at Six for Sunday May 11th”

Regards, Sue
Despite criticism, electroshock therapy commonly used in depression

Last Updated: Monday, May 12, 2008 | 12:22 PM ET

CBC News
(you can make comments at this link) – Sue
Despite protests calling for a ban on the treatment, electroshock therapy is frequently used by Canadian psychiatrists to treat severe depression.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) estimates that last year, the procedure, which dates back to 1938 and involves passing electrical currents though the brain to trigger seizures, was used more than 15,000 times in the country.

The figure has remained virtually unchanged since 2002, CIHI says, showing that the popularity of the procedure remains strong.

A report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last week shows the procedure is commonly used to treat drug-resistant depression in seniors.

However, critics of the procedure believe its usage should be stopped, and it is a painful procedure that leads to brain damage.

On Sunday, about a dozen protesters rallied in Ottawa, calling for a ban of the procedure.

Protest organizer Sue Clark-Wittenberg had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) 35 years ago, and says it has kept her from getting an education and a good job.

“The bottom line is electroshock always damages the brain. Electroshock always causes memory loss,” she says.

ECT survives calls for ban

Dr. Nizar Ladha, a psychiatrist based in St. John’s, has been using ECT for three decades. He says the procedure does induce seizures, but they’re not painful and don’t cause convulsions.

“As an effective and lifesaving treatment, it rates right up there with the discovery of penicillin,” he told CBC News.

Ladha says he has seen ECT help fight depression and prevent many suicides.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association argues that ECT is safe and effective, though the Canadian Medical Association says it can cause memory loss.

But Dr. Paul Breggin, a New York-based psychiatrist, is in a minority of psychiatrists who says the procedure should be banned.

“We’re treating human beings as if they are a very crude machine which can be battered back into shape.”

Still, Dr. David Goldbloom, a psychiatrist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, predicts it will become even more popular, having survived numerous calls to ban it and two provincial inquiries.

“Each time the conclusion is the same — that the balance of evidence supports retaining this to try to help people with depression.”

Shock therapy ‘barbaric, inhumane,’ say protesters

Updated: Sun May. 11 2008 18:29:27

Past patients of electroshock therapy took to Parliament Hill today, requesting a ban on what they say is torture.

“Stop electroshock before it stops you,” chanted Sue Clark Wittenberg, a former electroshock therapy patient and vocal opponent to the practise.

Also known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the American Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Psychiatric Association have deemed ECT to be safe and not cause brain damage.

The protesters claimed ECT is barbaric and inhumane.

Wittenberg said she was subjected to ECT 25 years ago. Now, she claims she suffers from memory loss and difficulty learning. Wittenberg and other patients want the Canadian Government to ban what is considered a therapeutic practice.

“The Canadian Psychiatric Association says on their website that electroshock therapy is safe. That is not true, look at me,” Wittenberg said.

Wittenberg claims 14,000 people in Ontario are subjected to electroshock therapy every year.

According to the Canadian Psychiatric Association, ECT is effective in the treatment of patients with major depression, delusional depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and catatonia.

Another anti-shock protest in Cork,Ireland/press release

Press Release

Members of MindFreedom Ireland, the organisation which campaigns for human rights in the mental health system, protested against the use of electro shock as a ‘treatment’ both in our Irish hospitals and worldwide.

It took place outside the G.P.O. Oliver Plunket St. Cork between 1.p.m. and 4.p.m.

Many members of the public expressed their own shock! that this barbaric practice was still performed both worldwide and in our Irish hospitals today ‘in the name of help.’

They were more outraged that it could even be legally forced on vulnerable people.

Many of them signed a petition to abolish the practice.

Four electro shock survivors from Cork spoke out and confirmed that it did indeed cause brain damage.

Last year both Kathy Sinnott, MEP and Dan Boyle, Green Party took part in the protest.

The protest was part of a worldwide demonstration in conjunction with Mother’s Day in Canada, to highlight the fact that two thirds of the recipients of shock are women. Messages of solidarity from Canada were read out.

On the same day MindFreedom Ireland celebrated the ratification of the UN treaty on the rights of people with disabilities( this importantly includes people with psycho/social disabilities) which hopefully will stop forceful ‘treatments’ used in present day psychiatry including electro shock.

Some important facts about electro shock commonly known as ECT ( Electro Convulsive ‘Therapy’.






Why Electro Shock should be abolished

Why Electro Shock should be abolished

YouTube – Dr. John Breeding Testifies on Electroshock …


MindFreedom Ireland. 021-4894303


CAPA Endorses Anti-Shock Protest in Ireland/May 3/08

CAPA Endorses Anti-Shock Protest in Ireland
“Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers”
May 3, 2008

MindFreedom Ireland

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) in Toronto wholeheartedly
endorses the protest against electroshock (“ECT”) organized by MindFreedom
Ireland on May 3, 2008.

We urge governments in Ireland, Canada and other countries to ban
electroshock, as this brain-damaging treatment hurts so many of citizens
of the world. We totally agree with your demand to Stop Shocking Our
Mothers and Grandmothers, which was also CAPA’s demand at our anti-shock
protest held last year before our government last Mother’s Day. The
message of this campaign is an important one, since two to three times
more women than men are subjected to ECT, with elderly women at highest
jeopardy. This psychiatric procedure is routinely inflicted without
informed consent, as we know from the painful experiences shared with our
sisters who have survived it. Electroshock causes trauma, permanent brain
damage, memory loss, and sometimes death. ECT needs to be stopped in order
to prevent further harm to our sisters and brothers.

CAPA is proud to be working in coalition with groups like MindFreedom
Ireland to resist ECT and other harmful psychiatric practices. We stand
with you in our continuing struggle to ban electroshock now!

In solidarity,

Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault

CAPA endorses anti-shock protest in Montreal, May 10/08

May 2, 2008

CAPA Endorses Anti-Shock Protest in Montreal
“Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers”
May 10, 2008

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) in Toronto
Wholeheartedly and proudly endorses the protest against electroshock (“ECT”) organized by the Comite Pare-chocs in collaboration with Action Autonomic and other human rights advocacy organizations in Montreal on May 10, 2008.

We totally agree with your demand Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers, which was also CAPA’s demand during our anti-shock protest on Mother’s Day (May 13) last year. As we know from our painful personal experiences and the public testimonies of hundreds of courageous sister shock survivors, this psychiatric atrocity is routinely inflicted without informed consent, against the person’s will. Since two to three times more women than men undergo electroshock and disproportionately large numbers of elderly women are also shocked, electroshock is sexist and ageist. Both women and men experience this so-called “safe and effective treatment” as psychiatric rape or torture. Electroshock always causes trauma, permanent memory loss, brain damage, and sometimes death; these are direct effects, not “side effects”. CAPA will continue to support the courageous resistance against electroshock in Montreal and other cities in Canada and other countries. We stand with you in our continuing struggle to ban electroshock now!
en solidarite

Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault

Statement and Poem by Shock Survivor Sue Clark

Psychiatry Tortured Me by Sue Clark-Wittenberg

I applaud and congratulate MindFreedom Ireland today for organizing a protest against the use of electroshock.

My name is Sue Clark-Wittenberg and I am from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
I am an electroshock survivor and activist. I am the director of the International Campaign to Ban Electroshock – The ICBE for short.

The ICBE is demanding that all world governments abolish ECT.

I am also the chair of the MindFreedom International committee for ECT and Human Rights.

I was tortured by psychiatry for 18 years from 1972 to 1990. I was given 5 ECTs, 15 different psychiatric diagnoses/labels and was given 14 different types of psychiatric medications/pills during the time I was psychiatrized.

I have been free of psychiatry since 1990.

I was 17 years old in 1973 when I was forced to have electroshock against my will
at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital in Ontario, Canada. I did not want ECT. I protested and told Dr. Louis Sipos my psychiatrist on Ward H not to give ECT to me.

I told Dr. Sipos that ECT would fry my brain like frying an egg and that ECT would damage my brain and it did. Dr. Sipos told me I was going to have ECT no matter what I said. Dr Sipos argued with me and said ECT was safe and I knew better. On my 5th ECT my heart stopped and I had to be revived.

Since I had ECT, I suffer from permanent memory loss and have difficulty learning new things. The damage from ECT has impeded my iife significantly. I can’t remember anything from hour to hour, miss many appointments and this has caused chaos in my day to day living. I can’t get organized no matter what I do.

I went to Carleton University in 1995 . After one term I had to leave my studies as I could not remember (retain) what I was learning. You can’t learn anything if you can’t remember. You can’t get a good job unless you have a good education. ECT robbed me of my personal potential.

If I was able to remember and learn, what would I have become? a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, no one really knows….I lost the financial stability of having a good job and improving my life.

ECT harmed my brain, my mind, my body, my spirit and my soul. No one had the right to torture me with ECT but they did. They did because nobody cared and ECT
generates big money to put into their pockets at whose expense?

I believe ECT to be barbaric, inhumane, unethical, torture and a crime against humanity and it must be abolished all over the world. It is estimated that 1 to 2 million people get ECT worldwide yearly.

ECT is a human rights issue.

No one should have to go through what I did with ECT.

In my estimation, I call psychiatry the biggest medical fraud out there today.

I wrote a poem about my first experience with ECT in 1973.


by Sue Clark-Wittenberg
April 4, 2007 copyright

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