Friday, 7 August 2009

Good news about Ray

MindFreedom International News - 6 August 2009
Win Human Rights in Mental Health - please forward

    Ray Sandford Campaign Victory: New Psychiatrist is Official

Ray Sandford just phoned MindFreedom with some very good news.

As you may know, Ray is a 55-year-old Minnesota resident who has
received more than 40 involuntary electroshocks (also known as
"electroconvulsive therapy" or ECT).

Adding to his horror, Ray received these court-ordered procedures
against his wishes -- and even against his family's wishes -- on an
OUTPATIENT basis. That is, Ray would be woken up early in his group
home, and escorted to a hospital for his forced shock over and over
and over again.

Ray asked for help from MindFreedom, which kicked off a Ray campaign
activating people internationally.

Today, Ray said because of his campaign his new psychiatrist -- who
opposes forced electroshock -- has been officially approved by the
mental health system.

Ray already has a new attorney, who is moving toward changing Ray's

Meanwhile, because of the campaign the Minnesota state legislature has
scheduled a hearing this Monday, 10 August, on the subject of
electroshock of committed Minnesota residents.

For more info about campaign news, see the Ray Gateway at:

At the start of this Saturday's MindFreedom Mad Pride Free Live Web
Radio show -- which is on the topic of humane alternatives to this
kind of abuse -- you can also hear news updates about the Ray
Campaign, see:

1 comment:

WillSpirit said...

My mother underwent about 30 ECT sessions. Back in the early 1960's a thirty-five-year-old woman would not have been given much counsel about the pros and cons of the treatment, though she probably did nominally consent to it. As a five-year-old, I saw my mother gradually slip away. Her memory became shockingly poor, she became more and more withdrawn and less interested in her surroundings (including me), and she just seemed to be getting worse. Then she died. (The details of her demise were never explained to me, but she openly prayed for death, and then she got her wish, so it always seemed to me like suicide.)

Then, as a medical student, I attended lectures where we were told that ECT is just a wonderful treatment, saving lives, bringing people out of the worst depressions. I never bought that line. What's tragic from the standpoint of my own little story, is that I did not realize that the same exaggerated hype plays into the widespread conviction that modern psychiatric medications represent a marvelous advance in mental health care. In fact, my experience with elephant-sized medication regimens exactly mirrored what I saw with my mother and ECT. My memory and thinking skills faded, I became detached into a hazy dream world, and my depression, anxiety, and every other ‘symptom’ increased.

Not long ago I debated with you that medications are sometimes useful, and I still believe that (though less so all the time). Despite that, I strongly oppose involuntary treatment. The gray zone comes when people aren’t given accurate information (and no one is); then true ‘informed consent’ becomes a lie. I never would have started medications if I knew what I know now.

So, although Ray’s story is extreme and horrible, it is unfortunately just a caricature of standard procedure. Psychiatric patients are almost never given true ‘voluntary’ treatment, which would require full disclosure.

Obviously, I am preaching to the converted here. Maybe I let you know my current thinking so you can see that I am gradually coming around to the point of view that medications have very little, if any, value.