From MindFreedom: “Last year, we issued a Shield alert for Charles Helmer, 21 years old, when he was locked up at Regions Hospital in Minnesota. Thanks in part to his mother’s advocacy and Shield members who wrote letters and made calls on his behalf, he was discharged to his mother’s care and the shock stopped, at least at that time.

Today, Charles Helmer, now aged 22, is activating his Shield again. While being detained at Fairview Riverside Psychiatric Clinic at the University of Minnesota, he was involuntarily committed. Today, after being discharged, he is court-ordered to live in a group home and report, once every two weeks, for shock ‘treatment’ starting Friday, March 26. Charles has committed no crime and is not a danger to himself or others. He asks for your help in protecting him from ECT.

Notably, the facility where Charles was recently confined has some serious issues. In 2018, two federal lawsuits were filed against Fairview hospital as a result of patient rights violations. To view local media coverage of these lawsuits, click HERE.

For more details about Charles’ story click HERE or go straight to actions below. There is no time to waste:

Please help us protect Charles by taking one or more actions!

Demand that the staff at Fairview Mental Health Clinic- stop subjecting Charles Helmer to harmful shock against his will.

Please write letters to the medical facility where Charles is being shocked and send a copy to [email protected]

M Health Fairview Mental Health and Addiction Services

Attn: Dr. Craig Vines M.D.

525 23Rd Ave. S.

Minneapolis, MN 55454-1455



Email the Ombudsman for Public Managed Health Care Programs (remember to send a copy to [email protected])

[email protected]


Write to the Ombudsman for Public Managed Health Care Programs (remember to send a copy to [email protected])

Ombudsman for Public Managed Health Care Programs
P.O. Box 64249
St. Paul, MN 55164-0249


Call the Ombudsman for Public Managed Health Care Programs

651-431-2660 or 800-657-3729 


Write to the Governor of Minnesota(remember to send a copy to [email protected])

Office of Governor

Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan

130 State Capitol 75

Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

St. Paul, MN 55155


Call the Governor of Minnesota

Staffed office hours are: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Telephone: 651-201-3400

Toll-Free: 800-657-3717

Minnesota Relay: 800-627-3529

Fax: 651-797-1850


Contact the governor via contact form on government website:


Media Action Alert: Submit a letter to the editor of local newspapers

Star Tribune

Submit letter to the editor using this online submission form:

Minnesota Daily

Submit Letters to the Editor to the Minnesota Daily by emailing [email protected]. Note: All letters must include the writer’s name, address and phone number for verification. All submissions should be exclusive to the Minnesota Daily. The Daily reserves the right to edit all letters for style, space, libel and grammar. Letters to the editor should be no more than 500 words in length. The Daily reserves the right to print any submission as a letter or guest column. Submission does not guarantee publication.

Please take action today to help us Shield Charles from further harm!”

More info →


  1. This is a vital campaign worth supporting, which should unite not only supporters of MFI but also those in the anti-psychiatry/abolitionist movement, as well as human rights advocates in general. With a united AP movement we would be able to do better than plaintively waiting for editors to print our letters — we might even force them to look up from their work and realize there’s something happening here (even if what is it ain’t exactly clear). 🙂

    This is like announcing the date of an execution and daring people to respond.

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  2. Does this mean all shrinks support and agree with forced ECT or other means? If not, where are those shrinks? Why are they not doing the right thing and finally speaking out that this is a human health and safety issue?

    This is psychiatry in it’s finest. Why not distribute posters on every telephone pole? Obviously joe public is basically a moron, but being a moron is not considered a brain disorder and neither is the shock doc brain defective. All normal there 🙂

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  3. Yes! Post flyers! Share the link to this alert with your friends! Email it and post it on social media. If you visit charles’ alert on our website at there is new updated information including some corrections.

    1) The name of Charles’ shock doc is Dr. Vine not Dr. Vine’s as stated above.

    2) The ombudsman’s name and contact information has been updated.

    3) we included the phone number, personal email and Twitter handles of Dr. Vine on our website if people want to leave messages for hum. We ask that all messages be respectful and non-threatening, in accordance with MFI’ values of mutual respect and spirit of non-violence.

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  4. More than a decade ago, MindFreedom won campaigns about two other people in Minnesota getting forced outpatient electroshock, see:

    MF’s past involuntary outpatient shock campaigns in Minn. are described here:

    As well as Ray, there was Elizabeth Ellis, almost exactly ten years ago:

    MF won both campaigns, with support from many.

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  5. Hi, Bill here is the update you requested. When I submitted updates to this alert through the MIA editors, I never got a response so I assume that it can’t be updated here, except in the comments section. Here is where update live on our website.

    Shield Alert Update for Charles Helmer 4/3/2021
    Thank you for your continued help to stop the forced shocking of Charles Helmer, aged 22. As you know, Charles was subjected to forced daily drugging and shock every two weeks under an involuntary commitment order you can view HERE

    Charles has told several people who are currently in charge of his treatment, “I hate how the drugs make me feel! I hate how the shock makes me feel!” I can’t work! I don’t have any motivation!”

    He stated, “They don’t care!”

    Recently, Charles shared that he doesn’t believe he has ‘schizophrenia’ a stigmatizing diagnosis that is being used to justify his harsh treatment. A psychiatrist who has only known him for a couple of days, responded by asking Charles”So you think you are perfectly normal?”

    Charles’ next scheduled shock is Friday, April 9th which means we have no time to lose.

    Charles’ court appointed attorney did not return Jim Gottstein’s call and given the timeframe, it is increasingly clear that Charles needs a new attorney, one who will help Charles fight state sanctioned torture. Charle’s ad hoc committee uploaded several publicly available legal documents HERE which includes the court order for shock torture.

    While members of the committee stategize how to secure competent legal counsel in Minnesota to reverse this travesty, your help is urgently needed to apply public pressure to people who can make a difference! Please take action as soon as possible to stop the next scheduled shock on Friday April 9, 2021!

    Contact James Hereford, Fairview President and CEO
    Call James Hereford–Message should be brief and respectful. If you attempt to correspond directly with James Hereford, please use respectful, non-violent, in accordance with MFI values.
    Ask why Charles Helmer is receiving such severe treatment. What is the basis or justification for shocking Charles?
    Email James Hereford (please cc [email protected]) A sample email can be found HERE
    Professional Email [email protected]

    Personal email: [email protected]

    Write a formal letter (Sample HERE) and send it overnight delivery to
    James Hereford

    Fairview President and CEO

    2450 Riverside Avenue

    Minneapolis, MN 55454 United States

    Contact Dr. Vine, the shock doc
    M Health Fairview Mental Health and Addiction Services
    Attn: Dr. Craig Vine M.D.
    (not ‘Vines’ as previously stated)
    525 23Rd Ave. S.
    Minneapolis, MN 55454-1455
    If you attempt to correspond directly with Dr. Vine, please use respectful, non-violent, in accordance with MFI values.

    His professional email address is:

    [email protected]

    His personal address is:

    [email protected]

    His social media sites are:

    Behind-the-scenes efforts will continue in the following areas:
    Line up national leaders and scientific allies to write letters and submit testimony
    Continue to identify and work with peer activists in Minnesota to be boots on the ground
    Identify state and county officials/policy makers and lawmakers and apply public pressure.
    Obtain media exposure. See MFI’s Press Release HERE and press contacts below
    The following is the Shield Alert Update for Charles Helmer dated March 29, 2021 (by Jim Gottstein, PsychRights)
    If you haven’t heard, Charles was indeed shocked last Friday despite our efforts to stop it. If you are seeing this alert for the first time, you can scroll down for the full story at midway below Jim’s updates)

    It is now believed that his scheduled forcible electroshocks are every two weeks, however, not every week as we thought. That gives us a little more time before his next unwanted electroshock, but there is still no time to waste.

    We are trying to see what we might be able to do to challenge the court order, but it will take some time to even get plugged into what went on in the court. In connection with that if you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul and might be willing to obtain some court documents, please e-mail Jim Gottstein at jim.gottstein(at)

    We are putting together some additional actions for you to take, but they are not quite ready to launch so let’s keep doing what we have been for now. There are a list of actions towards the bottom of the MindFreedom Shield Alert for Charles.

    A number of people have used the online contact form for the Governor and gotten back a particularly unsatisfactory form response. I am thinking it would therefore be good for as many people as possible to call the Governor’s office to ask him to intervene to stop, or at least investigate the Forcible Electroshocking of Charles Helmer. It is okay to be firm, but it is very important to be polite and respectful. I know that can be hard because of the great abuse the state of Minnesota is inflicting on Charles, but we will be dismissed as a bunch of lunatics if we are not.

    Governor of Minnesota

    Staffed office hours are: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

    Telephone Numbers: 651-201-3400

    Toll Free: 800-657-3717

    Minnesota Relay: 800-627-3529

    I will appreciate it if you can let us know that you called the governor or whatever action you take in support of Charles. There is a Facebook Event Page where, if you are on Facebook, you can post about your call or other action directly (I think), or you could e-mail me back with your report and I will post it. I know a lot of people are not on Facebook for good reasons, but I think it is good to have a place like that where people can see how much is being done to try and stop Charles Helmer from being Electroshocked against his will.

    I think good talking points can be extracted from the following e-mail by Joseph and Susan Rogers to the Minnesota Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. If you are on Facebook you can also look at what other people have written on Charles’ Facebook Event Page to use when you call the Governor’s office.

    Letter from Ron Bassman, PhD, Executive Director of MindFreedom

    Email to the Ombudsman in Minnesota from Susan Rogers and Joseph Rogers HERE

    My only comment is I always use “Electroshock” or “Shock” instead of “Electroconvulsive Therapy,” or “ECT,” because “ECT” is not therapy and does not convey the brutality of Electroshock. This is not a criticism of Joseph and Susan. Sometimes one wants to use the language of the oppressor to be more effective.

    In any event, Charles will greatly appreciate whatever you can do to help him get the Electroshock stopped.

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  6. Should we also be able to copy/send a letter to Charles Helmer?

    What is his mailing address? (

    One of the lasting experiences of having been committed was the challenge to converse with the realities of being processed. Ministers would not visit, some letters would be written and mailed, but there seems to be the creation of action in behalf of this young man without also bringing him into the loop.

    To fathom the degree and extent of the legal, the business, the medical, and then even our fascinating stories could be a teach/learn.engage with the whole of the experience?

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  7. Further reflections, experiencing the politics of brains in motion. For me, and to come into the awareness and appreciationi for this page only a little over a year ago, has afforded me a way to type maybe a little clearer? The past is on replay for to have been committed to the State Institution rather than the private Baptist, afforded me a different reality and experience to the designed space versus just a floor that only had rooms and secured room with little or no community space.

    But upon being committed to the State Hosptial then time would be spent trying to enlist Legal Aid’s Grif Stockley who would not assist and so I got the public defender for a few minutes before the commitment. But I would write letters which I still have from the state hospital to my mentor from Canada and he would write back. From the exerience and time, a commitment would be made to try and eplain and understand “my madness”, even the labels we have been given.

    And then procedurely now, be wondering what would have looked like if I had taken to court or requested for another hearing, rather than allowing the doctor to write the letter to the judge assurring the process was working? What if I would have gone to court with a stack of letters from around the world that would encourage me to learn, to recover with empathy and to not harm others, even though the space one is in can be horribly toxic.

    Part of the issues we face in this site is the degree we know our history. And the split nature of how laws have been crafted to address patterns of behavior that fall outside of the normal bell curve. To understand how to improve self understanding, the operation of the floor and the administration of the institution requires intervention. So, who is on the Board of Fairview? Who is shaping policy of that Hospital?

    If anyone works for Fairview, what bank does their employer make the payroll through? Who bonds and finances this operation? These economies? One debit can have many credits and vice versa. One letter copied to many might have an impact? A posted letter that is tactile, and received by Charles might be another gift, of the beginning of real recovery for himself and others (including the psychiatrist who asked him about normal…..

    To understand if the human had an important role in this process, then as a scuptor where do we need to chisel our letters, into what format or network?

    Maybe someday we can have anotherAltneratives Conference in Minneapolis with a visit to the Governor’s Office, Mayor’s Office, Fairview, the State Medical Board;s Office…… just be making a list to all the people and entities we need to thank for giving us his chance!!! I just hope we will not have to climb the outside dome of the State Capitol? And that perhaps someday, maybe The movement can move around while transforming the praxis! A few thoughts at the end of the day!

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  8. It should be made known that Joseph T. Carter, the judge who ordered electroshock on Charles, has a conflict of interest in the case that may reflect bias. He went the University of Minnesota for his law degree (1983). The University of Minnesota is a party in the case who he ruled in favor of. Judges are elected in MN. The public who elects them does not wish to have biased judges. Carter should have recused himself from the case.

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