Citizens Committee on Human Rights

The Mental Health Watchdog

Australian National Office

Sydney Exhibit Is No-holds Barred Look at Psychiatry’s Human Rights Abuses

Electroshock Still Legal for Use on NSW Children with Exhibit Amping Up Public Awareness Campaign

Hands pressing the text stop abuse.On Thursday 13th September a chillingly informative exhibit on human rights problems in the psychiatric system opened for 3 days. It informs the public of the often unknown facts about the potentially harmful side-effects of psychiatric drugs, restraint, seclusion and electroshock. A staggering 28,358 mental health prescriptions were written daily in NSW in 2016/17 (or 10,350,981 prescriptions annually).1

The exhibit produced by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is in NSW in Sydney at the Peace Embassy on George Street just up from Central Station.

One topic covered is electroshock (ECT): the application of hundreds of volts of electricity applied to the head to create the equivalent of a grand mal seizure. It can cause brain damage, memory loss and even death. The World Health Origination has stated, “There are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, hence this should be prohibited through legislation.”

Western Australia has banned the use of electroshock on children under 14 and in the ACT it is banned from being used on children under 12. Further afield, in 2017, India banned electroshock for all children under 18 and there are other bans and restrictions around the world. But in stark contrast, NSW has no bans in place to prevent its use on children.

A total of 35,489 Medicare funded electroshocks were given in 2017/18 in Australia, 8,265 of these in NSW.2 People touring the exhibit will be able to sign a petition calling for a ban on the use of electroshock on children, pregnant women and the elderly in NSW.

“Ms Wilkins the Executive Director of the CCHR Australian National Office states, “With NSW’s record spending on mental health ($2.1 billion for 2018/19 up from $1.4 billion in 2012/13, up 50% in just 6 years) psychiatry is not being held accountable for proven results. If the NSW mental health system were working, the numbers of mentally ill would be decreasing showing results. Instead the lives of children and adults are being placed at risk.”

This exhibit features 10 display panels that incorporate audio-visual presentations depicting key concerns and topics of human rights abuses in the mental health system with statements from psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, legal and human rights experts, and victims of psychiatric brutalities. It traces the origins of psychiatry to today and features the devastating effects of psychotropic drugs, especially in relation to children.

The exhibition provides practical guidance for lawmakers, doctors, lawyers, human rights advocates, parents and the general public to take action to help protect themselves, their families and others from the abuses rampant in the mental health system as well as advocate for changes to bring dignity and human rights to the field of mental health.

People visiting the FREE exhibit will be able to obtain a free copy of CCHR’s latest documentary, “Psychiatry: Friend or Foe? The Untold Story of Australian Psychiatry.”

TOUR TIMES: 13th, 14th & 15th September 2018, 9.30am to 6.30pm daily

VENUE: Peace Embassy Conference Centre, 826 George Street Sydney (near Central Station on Corner of George and Regent Streets)

CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and the late
Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.


References

  1. Mental Health Services in Australia, Mental health- related prescriptions; Type of medication prescribed and prescribing practitioner, states and territories, 2016/17, Table PBS.6, Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,
  2. Statistics generated on Medicare Australia website using MBS Item Code 14224 for electroconvulsive therapy.