About MindFreedom Ireland

MindFreedom Ireland is a voluntarily run, psychiatric survivor-led organisation which campaigns to abolish the power of psychiatry within the present so called ‘mental health’ system, a system that denies human rights in the name of ‘care’. MindFreedom Ireland explores and promotes healing alternatives to the mainstream psychiatric model (sometimes called the ‘medical model’).

We are affiliated to MindFreedom International

History of MindFreedom Ireland

Helena King, Greg White, Dr Terry Lynch, Dr. Peter Breggin and Cork Advocacy Network all played their part in the genesis of MindFreedom Ireland. It was their raising of a critical psychiatric consciousness in the early years of the new millenium that led to a connection being established with MindFreedomm International in America and its Director, David Oaks. Originally known as Support Coalition International, David Oaks had built up the organisation to be in the vanguard of the struggle for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system both in the US and around the world. A psychiatric survivor himself, David Oaks today leads a coalition of over 100 like-minded groups.

The initial contact with MindFreedom took place in September 2003 when Mary Maddock e-mailed David Oaks and began the process which led to the formation of MindFreedom Ireland. The actual birthday was December 15th, 2003 and the inaugural meeting took place in the house of Helena King in Cork. Just five people were present on that historic occasion – Helena King, Maria O’Mahony, Marguerite Gates, Mary Maddock and Jim Maddock. Vowing to be as truly democratic as possible, it was agreed that Mary Maddock, a psychiatric survivor herself, would act as a liason person with David Oaks. Today MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International with whom we share our Mission Statement in addition to campaigning in a specifically Irish context. We reject all discriminatory psychiatric labels and work to win human rights and alternatives for people who experience emotional distress.

MF Ireland Vision:

Our vision is a non-violent revolution in ‘mental health care’

MF Ireland Vision:

MF Ireland Goals:

  • Full human rights for people experiencing emotional distress.
  • Challenge abuse by the psychiatric drug industry.
  • Campaign for full legal recognition of Advanced Directives.
  • Promote safe, humane and effective alternatives.
  • Campaigns to abolish electroshock and has had 8 public electroshock protests.

MF Ireland endeavours to promote activism, advocacy, peaceful protest, public education and mutual support. While most of us are psychiatric survivors, we are open to all who supoprt human rights including psychiatric professionals, advocates, family members and the general public.

MF Ireland is one of the very few totally independent groups in the mental health field with zero funding from the mental health system, government or drug companies.

MF Ireland supports informed choice in mental health care. Some of our members choose to take psychiatric drugs, more do not. We are united in saying ‘No’ to human rights violations by psychiatric drugging. Drug companies often use fraud to promote their products. The public is sold a myth of ‘chemical imbalance’. There is no scientific proof of a genetic or biological basis for any psychiatric diagnosis.

MF Ireland calls for a full range of voluntary, humane and safe alternatives for all who choose to use them. These options should include mutual support, jobs, housing, peer-run programmes, nutrition, advocacy, quality counselling and other more holistic approaches.

OUR RECORD Since our establishment in 2003, MindFreedom Ireland has achieved the following:
  • Established links with both the European Network of ex/Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) and the World Network of ex/Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP).
  • Supported the petition and signature gathering campaign ‘We Deserve to Know the Truth about Psychiatric Drugs’ organised by Nuria O’Mahony
  • Given evidence to the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Health which published its Report on ‘The Adverse Effects of Psychiatric Drugs’ in 2007
  • Conducted an on-going letter writing campaign in the national press
  • Participated in RTE programmes Prime Time, The Big Bite, The Afternoon Show, Would You Believe, TG4, TV3’s The Morning Show and documentary ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ and on national radio with Today with Pat Kenny, Talk to Joe, The Matt Cooper Show, The Right Hook, Spirit Moves, The Niall Boylan Show on 4FM, Cork 96FM, TippFM and Donegal Highland Radio
  • Mounted exhibitions and information stands at conferences in Ireland, UK, Germany, Denmark and US.
  • Made submissions to The Mental Health Commission, the Expert Group, The Vision for Change Blueprint, Amendments to the 2001 Mental Health Act and proposed capacity legislation
  • Liased with Independent MEP Kathy Sinnott in making submissions to the EU Green Paper on mental health
  • Established collaborative links with the International Network towards Alternatives and Recovery (INTAR), Psychrights in Alaska, the Soteria Network in the Uk, the Campaign against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) in Canada and Patients’ Rights Advocacy in New Zealand
  • Formed a close alliance with Asylum, the UK organisation for democratic psychiatry and its Campaign for the Abolition of the Schizophrenic Label (CASL)
  • Represented by John McCarthy at the UN Ad Hoc Committee on Disability
  • Facilitated the establishment and inaugural meeting of Hearing Voices Ireland in Cork, November 2006
  • Organised the first ever anti-electroshock protest in Ireland in May, 2007 with further protests in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
  • Supported Amnesty Ireland’s campaign against psychiatric human rights abuse
  • Supported the Delete 59b Campaign to ban forced eletroshock
  • Facilitate a weekly support ‘Stand by Me’ support group
  • Facilitate a weekly ‘A Little Help from my Friends’ music group
  • Organised ‘Epidemic Exposed – Are Magic Bullets an Illusion?’ talk by Robert Whittaker in 2011
  • Organised talk and launch of his new book Selfhood by Dr. Terry Lynch in 2012
  • Organised a Selfhood discussion group
  • Held a major 10th Anniversary Conference September 2013


Logo By Mel O ‘Dea

I based the sign on the Cel


tic drawing that I picked up from a tourist office.

I wanted the design to be distinctively Irish.

The bird motive drew me. Birds are an image of freedom and hope and the dove is a symbol of peace.

I did the entire design myself, but the idea of using a Celtic motive came from Colette Ni Dhuinneacha.

I hope the logo symbolises freedom, hope, peace and uncoercibility and that it represents the idea that the mind can never be truly tamed!

Mel O’Dea.


Annual ReportMINDFREEDOM IRELAND ANNUAL REPORT 2022. As another year draws to a close, we are happy to report on the continued activities of MindFreedom Ireland. In 2023 we begin to count down the second decade of our existence.
One of our core principles has always been Mutual Support under our banner of Stand by Me. Though no longer meeting in Costa’s as we did for over 15 years, MFI still responds to people locally here in Cork and also all over Ireland who contact us to air their dissatisfaction and disillusionment with the existing psychiatric services as they have found them. Issues involving excessive psychotropic drugs, lack of appreciation of serious adverse effects and lack of any choice or help in reducing/coming off psychotropic drugs constitute the bulk of most people’s concerns. The feeling that you are not just on your own in dealing with these issues is a great consolation.
Mutual support also lies behind our new Mindfreedomireland Facebook Group which again affords people space to air their concerns and to feel colleagues are listening and respecting them. Right now, there are approximately 350 mostly active members, both in Ireland and abroad. https://www.facebook.com/groups/4392839167491627
To this end, we are pleased to be able to report a new Zoom group established by Jerome Koltkamp, comprised solely of people with lived experience and who continues to interact on a monthly basis. The same group also came together to present a workshop at the recent Critical Voices Network Ireland conference in University College, Cork and the benefits for all who participated were clearly to be seen.
In June, we held our annual online meeting with Karen McCarthy and her occupational therapy students in California when we again, with the help of Patrice, Miriam and new supporter Claire Twomey, shared our lived experiences with the next and hopefully more enlightened generation. Recently conferred with a degree in Social Science, Claire would very much be the caring and empathic kind of social worker we would like to see.
Another of our primary objectives is educating the public and to this end, Mary Maddock and Claire Twomey were interviewed on Cork Community Radio while Mary also spoke on a radio show in the US hosted by activist Carol Goss.
Of vital importance in getting our message across is our website mindfreedomireland.com which was revamped and relaunched in November, thanks to the efforts of Tim Hurley. The new website contains a mine of useful information and articles and along with our Facebook page, keeps us in contact with the movement worldwide.
With the removal of lockdown restrictions, we were once again able to stage our annual protest against electroshock in Cork in May. We would like to specifically express our gratitude to two wonderful little girls who produced some very artistic placards for the occasion.
The year concluded with a very enjoyable and morale-boosting Christmas party augmented by some friends of MFI and their children, organised by Claire Maddock even as we remembered some members who could not be with us. Special mention too to Lexie Hurley who is always willing to offer her technical skills and who made a beautiful cake for the occasion.
Sadly, in December, we also learned of the passing before her time of the humble and inspiring American activist and one-time leader of MindFreedom International Celia Brown. MFI made a strong connection with Celia at the Wisdom House Conference in the summer of 2007 and a tribute to Celia can be read on our website. May she rest in peace.
Next year we will celebrate 20 years of existence. We hope to organise an event to mark the anniversary. In the meantime, our work will continue aided by the infusion of enthusiastic younger blood to sustain us as we commence our 3rd decade.
Jim Maddock, 31st December 2022. www.mindfreedomireland.com