Human Rights Watch Protests ECT – in Ghana


Saying that ECT causes irreversible damage in patients, advocacy group Human Rights Watch protested its use in psychiatric hospitals in Ghana. The public-interest group’s latest report, “Like a Death Sentence,” describes what it says are grim conditions in the country’s psychiatric hospitals. The report asserts that ECT has been banned in many countries due to the memory loss, trauma and other effects associated with it.

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Of further interest:
Group: Ghana mentally ill chained up for months (AP)

Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor:
Interesting to reflect on the fact that the Ghanaian article on which this news item is based focuses on the use of ECT as the deplorable condition Ghanaians face, while the Huffington Post article on the same subject (Ghana Mental Hospital Patients Abused, Says Human Rights Watch) focuses its outrage on physical abuse and sanitary conditions, with ECT noted only as an issue of consent.
Cultural Perspective?

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. It is not a cultural perspective–no mainstream journalists in this country address the Human Rights violations of psychiatric patients. The failure of journalists to ethically report the news is in no small part responsible for the American people being uninformed and misinformed.

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