MindFreedom has campaigned for the right of Ray Sandford to say “no” to his ongoing, outpatient forced electroshock. Today the Ray Campaign has finally achieved victory: No More Forced Electroshock for Ray, Ever!


Ray Sandford

22 October 2009


Today, Ray Sandford of Minnesota phoned the MindFreedom office with some very good news:

It is official.

After more than 40 involuntary, outpatient electroshocks (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT), Ray has won.

The court agreed to his change of guardianship. Ray’s new guardians support his right to say “no” to intrusive procedures such as electroshock.

Ray made this comment for MindFreedom International members and supporters, who have backed his campaign for almost exactly one year.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed. This is wonderful! I’m very thankful. Without your help I probably would still be sitting somewhere getting more forced electroshock. So thanks a lot to and your group. Praise and thank the Lord, amen!”

Said David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, “Ray’s courage and laser focus led to a campaign that proves the ‘mad movement’ is alive and well. The sheer level of people power had to break through. I know some feel discouraged by the immense oppression of sanism. Think of Ray. There is an ancient Persian saying: ‘No one is tired on victory day!'”


MindFreedom is encouraging all of Ray’s supporters to celebrate this week, especially this Tuesday, 27 October 2009.

One year ago this week, on 27 October 2008, Ray Sandford first phoned up the MindFreedom office. He had asked his local library about organizations that support human rights in mental health. The reference librarian gave him MindFreedom’s phone number.

Ray phoned up the MindFreedom office. He said that every Wednesday morning he was escorted from his group home to a hospital for another involuntary forced electroshock, under court order.

MindFreedom International investigated and kicked off a public campaign that became global. Issuing 21 alerts, MindFreedom’s campaign activated thousands of people who peacefully but passionately contacted elected officials, held protests, mailed Ray stationery supplies, won extensive media coverage, visited him, and much, much more. At least one elected official said they felt ‘inundated.’

But MindFreedom also found that Ray’s oppression was systemic and deep.

MindFreedom volunteers identified and listed on the MFI web site more than 30 agencies and individuals receiving taxpayer money to supposedly help Ray. Only a few agencies helped Ray, and most actually opposed his rights. Because MFI’s web site is so popular, many of those who oppressed Ray can “Google themselves” and discover their MFI listing near the top.

Ray’s last forced electroshock was on USA tax day, 15 April 2009.

By coincidence the 15th of April was also the date of the very first forced electroshock, back in 1938 in Italy, when the subject cried out:

“Non una seconda! Mortifierel” which means in Italian, “Not another! It’s deadly!”

On 13 May 2009, Ray was escorted all the way to a hospital bed. He was prepped for another forced electroshock. Because of outrage, hospital authorities cancelled Ray’s shock at the last second, and he was sent home.

More victories quickly followed.

Ray’s psychiatrist quit because he said his insurance company was concerned about all the public attention. MindFreedom helped Ray find a new psychiatrist supportive of Ray’s human rights.

Ray’s family joined in the campaign. MindFreedom organized a YouTube video with Ray and his Mom, begging for the shock to end. Ray’s guardians, an agency under the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), tried to stop the video from going public, but it got ought.

Ray’s family found a better attorney. Ray found great pleasure in firing his ineffective court-appointed attorney.

Several concerned Minnesota agencies formed an “ECT Work Group” to change the law in Minnesota. Two MindFreedom representatives serve on the committee, but are asking for more than just minor reform.



And today, Ray’s final victory is in place: Ray successfully replaced his general guardians who had supported his forced electroshock.

One of Ray’s new guardians, Daryl Trones, announced:

“MindFreedom has just won a substantial victory! Today I received an ‘Acceptance of Appointment” from Ramsey County District Court regarding the changing of guardianship for Ray Sandford. Ray no longer will be subject to ECT treatments. The powers of Successor Guardianship include the power to ‘withhold consent for treatment of service, including  neuroleptic / psychotropic medications,’ under Minnesota Statute 524.5-314.”

Daryl, Ray and his family want to thank all of Ray’s many supporters.

Said Daryl, “My appreciation to all the MindFreedom members and volunteers and especially to David Oaks who orchestrated requisite forces and passions to pull Ray Sandford from harm’s way. MindFreedom now bas a successful case study outlining the necessary steps to extricate persons subject to forced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Congratulation to MindFreedom Staff and Members and most of all to Ray Sandford who one year ago was just a single, small voice in the face of a medical giant.”

Supporters should finally be able to postal mail to Ray Sandford directly without delay.

You may postal mail your congratulations to Ray here:

Ray Sandford Victory House 4427 Monroe St. Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA



Please forward this good news to all concerned people on and off the Internet!



Unite for a nonviolent REVOLUTION in the mental health system!

MindFreedom International is one of the few totally INDEPENDENT mental health advocacy groups, with zero funding from government, mental health systems or corporations.

This means your support is absolutely crucial and urgent.

Please donate, join or renew your MindFreedom membership NOW, here:

Document Actions