On 31 May 2009 a protest against electroshock was held by MindFreedom Ireland in Cork.
Mary Maddock and a supporter participate in street theatre at the protest
ELECTROSHOCK ADMINISTERED ON GRAND PARADE
A mock electroshock was administered to a woman lying on a bed on The Grand Parade, Cork on Saturday afternoon.
The mock shock was the focal point of a public protest by people who had received electroshock but who are opposed to the practice which is still carried out in Irish psychiatric hospitals today.
In 2003, the last year for which figures are available, 859 people were given electroshock.
The Cork protest heard testimony from two men and two women, all of whom had received electroshock in the past. Worldwide, 2/3 of the recipients of shock are women.
The practice involves passing a current of up to 400 volts through the brain of a depressed person which has the effect of inducing a grand mal seizure. Psychiatrists claim it helps with cases of severe depression but opponents point to research studies which say it causes permanent brain damage and memory loss.
One female speaker said she could not remember the birth of her child after receiving shock for puerperal depression. All speakers called for a ban, especially in relation to involuntary shock which is currently allowed for on the say-so of two psychiatrists under Section 59 of the 2001 Mental Health Act.
The protest, which was also addressed by MEP Kathy Sinnott, was organised by MindFreedom Ireland which campaigns for human rights in the mental health system, specifically in relation to the over-prescription of drugs, forced injections and involuntary detention. It follows similar protests organised by MindFreedom in 2007 and 2008.