When the general guardians for Ray issued a public statement about the situation, they revealed some of their underlying philosophy. These guardians say they operate on what is the “best interest” standard. But long-time mental health advocate Charlie McCarthy thinks that old-fashioned “best interest” approach can be harmful.

Charlie McCarthy (great name) is an advocate for human rights of people in the mental health system in Montana.

Charlie heard about how Ray Sandford is getting more and more forced electroshocks. Charlie also read the public statement made by Ray’s “general guardians” about their approach.

Specifically, the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN), owned by six Minnesota Synods of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA} put out a 16 December 2008 public statement in which they say they operate in the “best interests” of their clients.

Sounds nice. Best interest.

But Charlie points out this “best interest” approach has long been discredited.

In aletter to MindFreedom International, Charlie concludes:

“Advocates for adult persons with disabilities have an obligation to continue to point out that adults with disabilities are not children in need of protection.  Ray is perfectly capable of expressing what is in his own ‘best interest’, but his ELCA guardian is helping others to take his voice away.”

A better and more empowering model, adopted by more and more agencies, is the “expressed interest” of the subject.

Says Charlie, “We are to advocate for the client’s expressed interests.  So, even if I thought ECT would be in Ray Sandford’s ‘best interest’,  I would NOT be representing Ray if I said so, or if I advocated for what I thought was in his best interest.”

So get with the times, leadership at LSSMN and ELCA… truly open your hearts and hear Ray’s simple five word request, that he has repeated over and over:

“No more shock for Ray.”

To read Charlie McCarthy’s full letter to MindFreedom International, click here:


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