Thousands Sign Petition to Ban Electroshock Treatment
March Organized on Saturday, May 20 in San Diego to Further Support ECT Ban
Mental health industry watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) International reports thousands have signed its petition launched during Mental Health Month supporting a ban on the use of electroshock treatment and is organizing a march in San Diego, California to garner more support against its use.
The march and rally against electroshock (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) will be held outside the San Diego Convention Center, coinciding with the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which has been lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, which regulates the ECT device), to increase its use, including its use on children. In a letter to the FDA, the APA states, “Having access to a rapid and effective treatment such as ECT is especially meaningful in children and adolescents….”
CCHR says that the risks of electroshock today make it so potentially dangerous, with the FDA reporting permanent memory loss, brain damage and death, that the procedure should be banned for all age groups.
The march and rally will also draw attention to the March 27 announcement from India that the country will ban the use of electroshock on children under its Mental Health Act. To date, four states in the U.S.—California, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas—have prohibited shock treatment use on children.
In addition to India and the U.S. states, in 2014, Western Australia banned ECT for those younger than 14. The state also imposed a $15,000 fine and two years’ imprisonment for anyone performing ECT on minors, further exemplifying, as CCHR says, the need for similar penalties in the U.S. and globally. CCHR wants a nationwide ban as the documented risks of ECT are well established.
- Evidence presented to the FDA in 2016 included studies of inter-cranial bleeding and loss of brain tissue following ECT.
- In Clinical Psychiatry News, neurologist Sidney Samant said: “ECT produces effects identical to those of a head injury. After multiple sessions of ECT, a patient has symptoms identical to those of a retired, punch-drunk boxer….”
- In 2014, a study published by Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, York University and others said: “The ongoing and growing interest within psychiatry in prescribing electroshock or shock-like procedures…in children is of grave concern,” and “given the volume of evidence demonstrating its substantive brain-damaging outcomes, we call for an immediate global ban on the use of electroshock on all children.”
A 2016 petition to the Acting Commissioner of the FDA also addresses the failure of the FDA to require ECT device makers to provide clinical trials proving ECT is safe and effective. The petition, citing a deposition of the president of one ECT device manufacturer, said the company had “never done any study or investigation regarding the safety and efficacy of ECT provided by its devices.” Specifically, the president said “[the company] does not do research.”
Thousands are expected at the San Diego march taking place on Harbor Street on Saturday, March 20, 2017 at 1 p.m. Signs and banners stating, “ELECTROSHOCK: TORTURE, NOT TREATMENT” will be featured. CCHR says this is to draw attention to a 2013 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment who equated forced electroshock with “torture” and recommended banning all “forced and non-consensual” electroshock “against persons with disabilities.”
Another educational feature in San Diego is the display of CCHR’s world-acclaimed Traveling Exhibit on the history of psychiatry, which includes an historical and contemporary look at ECT and other psychiatric treatments. The Exhibit, opened from May 16 to May 27, 2017, from 9 a.m.–9 p.m., is at 1047 J Street, San Diego. Admission is free. CCHR is inviting psychiatrists attending the APA convention to also tour the Exhibit.
Contact: Amber Rauscher, firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 467-4242.
About Citizens Commission on Human Rights:
As a mental health industry watchdog, CCHR’s mission is to inform and mobilize the public against violations of human rights and civil liberties committed under the guise of “mental health.” Put Patients Above Profit. Take Action Against Abuse.
 Letter to Robert M. Califf, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, from the American Psychiatric Association, March 10, 2016, https://psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Advocacy/Federal/APA-FDA-ECT-reclassification-comments-03102016.pdf.
 “Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Devices for Class II Intended Uses,” Draft Guidance for Industry, Clinicians and Food and Drug Administration Staff, 29 Dec. 2015, http://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/…/UCM478942.pdf; Neurological Devices Panel, Center for Devices and Radiological Health Medical Devices Advisory Committee, Food and Drug Administration, pp 148-149, 27 Jan. 2011, http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/neurologicalDevicesPanel/UCM247594.pdf.%20Accessed%20December%203.
Rhythma Kaul, “Mental Healthcare Bill decriminalising suicide attempt passed by Parliament,” Hindustan Times, 27 Mar 2017, http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mental-healthcare-bill-that-decriminalises-suicide-attempt-passed-by-parliament/story-iL3DXiatxP7BFhS2t4zGCM.html.
 “Electroshock therapy on under-14s banned in WA after law passes Parliament,” ABC News, 17 Oct. 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-17/mental-health-bill-passes-wa-parliament/5822874
 Jonathan Emord & Associates, Citizens Petition to FDA Commissioner, August 2016, p. 17, http://emord.com/blawg/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1-ECT-Citizen-Petition.pdf
 Robert Morgan, John Friedberg, M.D., et al, Electroshock: The Case Against, (Morgan Fdn Publishers, CA, 1999) p. 73, https://books.google.com/books?id=1593GRf_HC8C&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=John+Friedberg+ECT+is+like+traumatic+brain+injury&source=bl&ots=0CVqvH-55Z&sig=_-KHdqDmPOsspHj_3iUd-mJvOUY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi1-cHioePTAhVO5GMKHW29Ai0Q6AEIWDAI#v=onepage&q=John%20Friedberg%20ECT%20is%20like%20traumatic%20brain%20injury&f=false.
 Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, et al., “The Utmost Discretion: How Presumed Prudence Leaves Children Susceptible to Electroshock,” Children and Society, Vol. 28, 205-217 (2014), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261719777_The_Utmost_Discretion_How_Presumed_Prudence_Leaves_Children_Susceptible_to_Electroshock.
 Emord & Associates, Citizens Petition to FDA Commissioner, August 2016, p. 43, http://emord.com/blawg/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1-ECT-Citizen-Petition.pdf.
 Videotaped Deposition and 30(b)(6) Examination of MECTA Corporation, Volume I, Portland, Oregon, November 18, 2004, Exhibit 9 of the Citizens Petition by Emord & Associates, http://emord.com/blawg/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ECT-Petition-Exhibits-Part-3.pdf.
 A/HRC/22/53, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez,” UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Twenty-second Session, Agenda Item 3, 1 Feb. 2013, p. 21, para 85, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A.HRC.22.53_English.pdf.
SOURCE CCHR International
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