As we complete our 15th year of activity since our foundation in 2003, MindFreedom Ireland (MFIrl) can now take the opportunity to assess where it is, what it has achieved and where it is going. Our core objectives remain as they always have, namely to abolish forced ‘treatment’, to achieve human rights for all without discrimination and to do all we can to bring about a non-violent revolution in the current power driven, psychiatric medical model.

 

Central to this is our media presence.  In the past, we had placed too much trust in the established media to take on board our vision, not realising that it is as much part of the establishment as the psychiatric/pharmaceutical complex itself.  Yes, it may and has given expression to our point of view but in the interests of ‘balance’ (or more accurately, we would claim, ‘imbalance’) it will still always come down on the side of the College of Psychiatry. Fortunately, this is where ‘social media’ can prove more than useful to us where we can be. in effect, our own media.  Our Facebook pages ‘MindFreedom Ireland’, ‘Cork Stand by Me’ and ‘No More Electroshock’ link us to a wide audience while our website

http://www.mindfreedomireland.com

is a vital gateway for people new to the psychiatric experience to access information and alternative means of help.  Strong and lasting links have been forged both at home and abroad with groups such as The Critical Voices Network Ireland, Drop the Disorder in the UK, The Campaign Against Psychiatric Assault in Canada and of course MindFreedom International itself to name but a few.

http://www.adisorder4everyone.com/

http://www.cvni

http://www.capa

http://www.mindfreedom.org





MIndFreedom International appointed a new Director in 2018 in the person of psychologist and survivor Ron Bassman, author of ‘A Fight to Be’ to carry on the work of the indefatigable pair of David Oaks and.Celia Brown.  It also embarked on a new project steered by Sarah Smith to utilise ‘old hands’ to train and monitor and offer practical support and advice to its oversubscribed call for new young activists.  Prominent among these is Jim Flannery who offered his technical and computer skills to host many online meetings and also produced a series of interviews central to the aims of the project. MFIrl was happy to host Jim while on a visit to Ireland in June where he also linked up with Richard Patterson from Leitrim who has become a mentor in the initiative.  MFIrl also hosted Emily Cuttler, another young American activist who was in Cork to present a workshop at the CVNI conference in November.

 

MFIrl members too had a presence at the CVNI conference.  Mary Maddock and Deirdre Gibbons gave a workshop presentation and were supported by Dorothee and Miriam, the latter who compiled a photographic record of the event.

 

Mutual Support in all its aspects is central to our philosophy.  At a local level, the ‘Cork Stand by Me’ group continued its weekly Costa meetings throughout the year with a core presence of regular attendees and the welcome addition of some new faces.  We were sorry to lose the support of the steadfast Susan who returned to her native Wales in the summer. We were delighted to welcome her back for a short visit in November. MFIrl was also able to act in an advocacy capacity for fellow members on a number of occasions and to continue to offer support and information to an ongoing string of requests from around the country made by phone or through social media.

 

MFIrl was more than happy to contribute to an initiative undertaken by our long-term friend and ally Dr. Terry Lynch who in December submitted his Petition to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for radical overhaul of the current psychiatric system.  We are also delighted to report that Terry’s book ‘Depression Delusion’ has recently been translated into Portuguese in Brazil. MFIrl had hosted a Cork launch of the book when it was first published in 2015.

 

In May we held our annual public protest against the still utilised practice of electroshock.  Speakers highlighted the fact that two-thirds of the recipients in Ireland are women, in keeping with the figures worldwide.  We would also like to acknowledge the practical support of Fiona towards our protest which was held to coincide with a First Do No Harm protest against the American Psychiatric Association held in New York and the worldwide International Protest to Ban Shock Treatment held simultaneously on May 12th.  We are also happy to report further progress in the long-standing campaign of Dr. Peter Breggin in America to ban the practice. This stems from a crucial recent U.S. legal judgement against electroshock device manufacturers for their failure to warn of known risks of brain-damage, thereby opening the way for justice to be achieved by further shock recipients.

 

So at year’s end, we can report that the work of MFIrl continues. As always, we remember our departed friends Helena and Carmel and many others who are no longer with us.  We stand in support of many who are still struggling in the system, a system dominated by a discriminatory Mental Health Act and a system that you or any one of us could find ourselves being sucked into.  We continue to be inspired and encouraged by our friends and supporters at home and abroad and sustained by the infusion of young blood. We continue to operate on a shoestring budget but pride ourselves on our total and authentic independence knowing that there are some things that money just can’t buy.

 

JIm Maddock,

31st December, 2018.

 

www.mindfreedomireland.com

 

http://www.adisorder4everyone.com/gallery/

'A Disorder for Everyone' is coming to Cork on Friday, June 1st, 2018.

MindFreedom Ireland Annual Report 2017

 

Like the flame at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, the flickering flame of MindFreedom Ireland (MFI) has been burning non-stop now for 14 years. Sometimes it has burned brightly, sometimes not so brightly, but it has never been extinguished. The reason for that is the selfless work of a relatively small number of loyal and true supporters over the years, inspired by their desire to someday achieve MFI’s goal of a non-violent revolution that will ultimately see a humane approach to people experiencing emotional distress, fully rooted in a bedrock of genuine human rights and offering a non-coercive and empathetic alternative.

In furtherance of this, MFI was delighted to welcome Tina Minkowitz to Cork in January where, in addition to being interviewed on Cork 96FM, she also spoke to an audience in Bru Columbanus on her work with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Tina is a founder of The Centre for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, a survivor run organisation which is currently running an ‘Absolute Prohibition Campaign’ which calls for a total ban on involuntary detention and forced treatment. We would also like to acknowledge the trojan work of Fiona Walsh in this area and were happy to cooperate with her, Recovery Experts by Experience and Our Voice, Our Rights in making a joint submission for Review of Ireland’s Adherence to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment which took place in Geneva in June.
http://www.chrusp.org/

‘Mutual Support Keeps Us Afloat’ is the thinking behind our ‘Stand By Me’ group which met regularly throughout the year. Meetings take place in a warm and welcoming atmosphere in Costas in Douglas every Wednesday at 3pm. Members of the group provided practical and emotional support to friends going through hard times.
https://www.facebook.com/MADDOCK44/photos/a.232535966944014.1073741825.232534856944125/720896651441274/?type=1&theater

Our annual public electroshock protest took place in May. Like the previous year, we were once again hit by bad weather but it did not dampen in any way the strong message sent out by the speakers on the day, all of whom gave personal testimony of an outdated and dehumanising practice.
https://www.facebook.com/NoMoreElectroshock/photos/a.309906559041865.79324.309906472375207/1576668879032287/?type=1&theater

MFI continued to operate its website and Facebook pages. Members of the public, unhappy with their experience of the current system, contacted MFI where they were given a listening ear and pointed in the direction of people and places in line with our own aims and philosophy. Dorothee Krien had a number of campaigning letters published in The Irish Examiner.

MFI members Miriam O’Shea and Mary Maddock presented workshops at the Critical Voices Network Ireland two day conference in University College, Cork in November and we acknowledge the great work done by Lydia Sapouna and Harry Gijbels in putting the conference together every year. MFI members also attended two other human rights conferences in solidarity with Tehmina Kazi and Cork Equal and Sustainable Communities Alliance (CESCA). http://www.cvni.ie/

In October, Mary and Jim Maddock accepted an invitation to speak at the World Psychiatric Congress in Berlin along with Peter Lehmann, publisher and editor of ‘Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs’. Like Yeats’s ‘peace’, ‘change’ comes dropping slow but nonetheless, MFI is proud to be part of the ever-expanding and challenging international movement. We will also be involved with a new initiative being launched by MindFreedom International in the new year. Co-ordinated by Sarah Smith, it is designed to solicit information from MFInternational members, most of whom identify as psychiatric survivors and will use the information to develop two webinar trainings, a series of organising videos and a pocket sized handbook for activists.
http://www.mindfreedom.org

We also maintain close links with Mad in America and the excellent work they do and will also support Laura Delano and her forthcoming Inner Compass Initiative, an organisation which will focus on supporting people who want to leave, bypass or build community within and beyond the mental health system. MFI had hosted both Laura and Robert Whittaker at events in Cork a few years ago. We have links too with the ‘Drop the Disorder’ group and their A Disorder for Everyone (AD4E ) campaign which explores the current culture of ‘diagnosis and disorder’. Having already organised events in a number of UK cities, they will hold a one day event in UCC on June 1st, their first in Ireland and a testimony to Cork’s standing in the movement. Mary Maddock and another close associate of MFI Terry Lynch, have been invited to join the panel of speakers on the day. At home, we are ever grateful for the unstinting support of activists like Patrice Campion, Richard Patterson, Aine Nibhern, the indomitable Greg White and recently, Martin McManus, one time worker with the Simon Community.
http://www.adisorder4everyone.com/

Operating as we do on a shoestring, MFI was delighted to receive a generous donation in April which we used to purchase some new weatherproof signs and banners and which, we are glad to say, passed the test on their inaugural outing at our rain-drenched electroshock protest.

It was with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death of our good friend Carmel Delaney in January. Carmel was ultimately a victim of all that we are campaigning against and unable to attend her funeral, we were later able to visit her grave and lay a wreath on behalf of MFI. We are also mindful every January of the anniversary of one of our founder members Helena King whose spirit continues to inspire us.

On a happier note, the year concluded with our annual Christmas party, attended by members old and new. Thanks to Helena and Miriam for helping to organise it and to Susan for her festive season singing.

As 2018 dawns, MFI will hopefully continue to be deeply involved in the ever-growing movement that is challenging bio-psychiatry, both nationally and internationally. As the song says ‘Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone’!

 

JIm Maddock,
January 2nd, 2018.

 

The World Psychiatric Association XV11 World Congress of Psychiatry was held in Berlin from 8 - 12 October  2017.  Due to the good offices of German psychiatric survivor, author and publisher Peter Lehmann, we were invited to speak at the Congress in the Author’s Reading Section.  In his book ‘Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs’, Peter had featured Mary’s story of weaning herself off all drugs having been given a Bipolar diagnosis 18 years earlier in 1983.  She has now been drug free for a further 18 years. In addition to relating our story in our own book ‘Soul Survivor - A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’, we were now to give living evidence and personal testimony as outlined in Peter’s book

We were under no illusions as to what we were undertaking.  We were aware we were entering the lion’s den and were warned about supping with the devil!  But two main reasons determined why we went.  Firstly for Mary herself to stand face to face with the profession of psychiatry who had visited so much harm on her and on our family for over 20 years and secondly to speak our truth and our learned experience from our association with medical bio-psychiatry.  Would anybody be willing to listen or was our invitation just a window dressing exercise?  We would see.

 

The Congress was held in the enormous Messe Berlin centre and was attended by 10,000 people from all over the world.  Security was extremely tight as we arrived on the morning of Tuesday October 10.  Unfortunately we had left out laptop and prepared documents in the taxi from the airport the night before but luckily had a backup which we now hurriedly had to photocopy and prepare again for our talk. Our gratitude is due to the helpful lady in the Business Centre which we eventually located after quite an exhausting search.

 

The conference began each day at 8am and went on until 7pm.  There were numerous keynote speakers addressing large audiences in large halls while simultaneously, numerous symposia were being held in smaller rooms throughout the complex. There were also poster exhibitions on Psychiatry in The Third Reich, photographic exhibitions on Psychiatry in West Africa, book stalls, various ‘service user/carer’ tables and of course a huge section for numerous pharmaceutical companies to display their latest products which included a drug that could be taken by inhalation.

 

We commenced our presentation at 12 noon at which point, we had 14 people in our audience, 10 women and 4 men.  Subsequently we only had the opportunity to speak to a few of the women who turned out to be psychologists and psychotherapists.  None of the men approached us or had anything to say about our presentation.  In fact, two of them walked out halfway through!  The women were very encouraging and receptive.

 

We had decided to simply dispense copies of the chapter from Peter Lehmann’s book to everybody and avail of the opportunity to put our specific points across as to what we challenged in psychiatry in relation to labelling, human rights violations and forced treatment while also relating our journey from blind participants who originally went along with the system to the active dissidents we are today.  We also dispensed free copies of our own book Soul Survivor.  Our allocated hour was to be shared with another presenter from America but we both felt we said all we wanted to in the 35 minutes we utilised.

 

 

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A public protest against the psychiatric procedure of electroshock took  place in Cork on Saturday.

 

A number of speakers referred to the fact that, following a decline in the 1980's  and 90's, electroshock is now on the increase again.  Apart from causing cellular brain injury it is also, in a ratio of 2 to 1, used more on women than men.  Many of the women are elderly including, recently, a woman of 92.

 

Grandmother and shock recipient Mary Maddock (69) spoke of a power imbalance faced by the victims of an outdated procedure which she described as a human rights violation.

 

Other speakers placed the procedure in the context of present day overall forced psychiatric practice which also sees people drugged against their will with no alternatives available.

 

The protest was organized by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor movement and marked their 10th anniversary of what was the first ever public electroshock protest in Ireland in 2007.  Similar protests have been taking place worldwide for almost three decades.

 

MindFreedom Ireland. Cork, May 14th, 2017.

 

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