MindFreedom Ireland MF(lrl) is a proud affiliate in MindFreedom International. MF(lrl) can look back at its performance during the year and report significant progress on a number of fronts.
Jim and Mary Maddock, co-founders of MindFreedom Ireland, in photo from 2009 Irish Times article about MindFreedom Ireland and camnpaign against forced electroshock.
MINDFREEDOM IRELAND – ANNUAL REPORT 2009.
MF(Irl) maintained its established links with Amnesty Ireland and supported its ongoing campaign against human rights abuses.
MF(Irl) also lent its support to the successful effort to stop the forced shocking of Ray Sandford as well as supporting other efforts on behalf of John Hunt( Ireland), Anthony Milne (South Africa) and Abdul Ahmed (Denmark).
In addition MF(Irl) lobbied Irish politicians on the shortcomings of the Irish psychiatric system and was present in the Irish Senate for the debate on the Bill to abolish forced electroshock. MF(Irl) has been invited to make further submissions to the Minister for Mental Health John Moloney early in 2010.
Support and advice was also offered to many people who contacted us through our website and Martin Hynes and Dorothee Krien made valuable advocacy contributions in a number of Tribunal cases.
[for more info on MF(lrl) lobbying:
MF(Irl) was represented by Nuria O Mahony on ‘Prime Time’, the flagship RTE current affairs programme which was dealing with the issue of the adverse effects of SSRI’s . Further national media attention was secured by a number of articles in The Irish Times and The Sunday Times, two large circulation national newspapers while the voice of MF(Irl) was also heard in the month long ‘ECT without consent’ debate in the influential ‘Letters to the Editor’ page of The Irish Times. Facebook causes such as ‘Stop Forced ‘ECT’’, ‘The Incarceration of John’ and ‘Support MindFreedom Ireland’ were set up as well as a number of videos being added to You Tube.
MF(Irl) members Lidia Walsh-Yildirim and Mary Maddock made a poetry and music presentation to the National Service Users Executive Conference in Cork as well as other members mounting a poster exhibition and having an information stand. In June MF(Irl) in solidarity with ‘We The People’, held a memorial ceremony to mark the anniversary of the death of Esmin Greene, who died from psychiatric neglect in Kings County hospital, New York in 2007.
Inspired by Grainne Humpreys and in conjunction with Asylum Associates MF(Irl) helped with the initial organizing arrangements for the UCC Recovery Conference, which was subsequently ‘recovered’ by Harry Gibjels and Lydia Sapouna from UCC, when it seemed that, because of circumstances, it might not have come to pass. The two day conference ‘Making Thriving a Reality: Towards and Beyond Mental Health Recovery’ brought together a wide range of progressive thinking, including workshop presentations from Greg White and Mary Maddock and overall was recognised as being a great success.
MF((Irl) was also represented by Martin Hynes at an ENUSP conference in Brussells in March while in June, Dorothee Krein organised a visit by Dr.Betty Martini who spoke at a public meeting on the issue of aspartame and the role it plays in adverse health effects.
With the help of Tony Christie, Colette Ni Duinneacha organized regular Labyrinth meetings at The Laverna Center, Cork. They helped MFIrl members to relax and unite with mutual support and solidarity.
Our third annual anti-ECT Protest took place in May with Martin Hynes, Kevin Foley, Colette Ni Dhuinneacha and Mary Maddock all giving public testimony to their negative experiences at a rally which was also addressed by disability campaigner and independent MEP Kathy Sinnott.
Many members were also present in Fitzgerald Park for the second Mad Pride Festival organised by John McCarthy.
One of MF(Irl)’s most notable events in 2009 was the Wednesday Support Group. Meeting in the warm, everyday surrounds of Costa’s Coffee Shop, the group has a strong, solid core of regular attenders and others who drop in from time to time. Lively discussion, information exchange and fun are the main ingredients of the by now well established ‘diary date’. We also appreciate the support of The Society of Friends who offered the use of their Meeting Hall for our annual Christmas party.
MindFreedom was once known as Support Coalition International and the philosophy of international as well as national mutual support is central too to the philosophy of MF(Irl) Already existing links with our sisters and brothers such as David Oaks, Don Weitz (CAPA), Jim Gottstein (PsychRights), Patients Rights Advocacy(New Zealand), ENUSP and WNUSP were maintained and strengthened. In addition, MF(Irl) made new and valued connections with Barbara, Alison, Marion and Mike from EleMental UK, Barney from MF Lancaster, Richard from NSUE Sligo, Debra from ENUSP.
MF(Irl) continues to thrive and its name and logo are gaining more and more national currency. We are only as strong though as our committed and hardworking members, all with valuable contributions to make, which will be needed for the challenges ahead. Our agenda for the future continues as before – to educate the public, to speak out against human rights abuse, to promote effective and humane alternatives and to encourage the formation of affiliate branches.
Beannacht De ar an obair!
31st December, 2009