Today, Saturday, 16 May 2015, a protest was held in Eugene against human rights violations caused by the use of electroshock, a psychiatric procedure involving the running of electricity through the brain. The protest today was one of about two dozen held in about eight countries. The speakers included:
- Fred Abbe, 68, of Reedsport, OR personally experienced electroshock as a teenager. He said, “I survived 40 years of psychiatric oppression, including 15 bilateral electroshock ‘treatments’ totally forced against my will, every other day within a 30 day period in 1964, before I reached the age of 18, in Jackson Park Memorial Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida.”
- Chuck Areford of Eugene, a long-time mental health worker who once gave electroshock, spoke movingly about how he is full of regret.
- Adrienne Bovee, a young-adult psychiatric survivor from Eugene and student at the University of Oregon who said, “I feel lucky to have narrowly escaped brutal psychiatric treatment like electroshock.”
- Chrissy Piersol of Eugene, a young-adult psychiatric survivor who works as a peer mental health counselor, called for more humane alternatives.
- David Rogers of Eugene, folk singer and songwriter, sung about empowerment and disability. He works as a mental health peer supporter. Find his music via his website www.sasquatchguitar.com
- David Oaks of Eugene, psychiatric survivor who has worked as an activist for human rights in mental health for 40 years. He said, “The world today can cause a lot of despair, such as through global warming that threatens life as we know it. We can do better than just responding with jolting people’s brains!” Oaks called for a nonviolent revolution, and several of the listeners took up his chant of “Now, Now, Now!”
- A speakout was then held and we heard from a massage therapist, Sid, who called for better approaches. We also heard from another psychiatric survivor.
At the end of the Eugene protest, activists walked to the statue of Ken Kesey in the middle of downtown to remember his literary resistance to electroshock.
Co-sponsors of the peaceful protest in Eugene included MindFreedom Lane County, International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment, Network Against Psychiatric Assault, Rethinking Psychiatry, and ectjustice.com, which has more about the protests including a list of planned events. More info can be found on the facebook pages of MindFreedom Lane County and Network Against Psychiatric Assault. May is the annual “National Mental Health Month.”
For more information about the day of protest against electroshock, see www.ectjustice.com. For info about the Eugene protest, see www.davidwoaks.com. Find on facebook Network Against Psychiatric Assault and MindFreedom Lane County.
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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.