It Is Still Legal to Use Electroshock on Children and Court Order Electroshock on Adults in New York State

Activists to Hold 31st Annual Bastille Day Demonstration/Celebration/Vigil to Call Attention to and Stop the Use of Shock and All Forced "Mental Health" Treatment

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ALBANY, NY (07/12/2011)(readMedia)-- As Egypt bans electroshock (electroconvulsive treatment, ECT) New York State still permits its use on children and by court order on adults.

On Bastille Day, Thursday, July 14 through July 17, survivors of electroshock and their allies speak out on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building (at State and Swan Streets).

We find it unacceptable that the New York State Office of Mental Health is "unwilling to ban" electroshock on children under 18 years old. We call on NEW YORK STATE and the NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH to demand a ban the use of electroshock on children under 18 years old in New York State.

* Electroshock, also known as electroconvulsive "treatment" (ECT) is an extremely controversial procedure.

* Electroshock courses electricity through the brain to cause a seizure and brain convulsion.

* Electroshock requires anesthesia, which carries an inherent risk of death.

* Electroshock is known to cause brain damage, memory loss, bodily injury, apathy, and as reported by survivors of forced - coerced - court ordered - and - without-informed-consent-shock, destruction of life.

* Electroshock is used in New York State on minors. Several states have banned shock on minors (including Texas, under 16 years of age).

* Electroshock is often court-ordered and administered over objection on adults in New York State.

* Electroshock is considered a Class III Experimental Device by the FDA which has never been tested for safety or efficacy.

"The use of ECT is increasing. More than 100,000 people in the United States are being electroshocked each year; half are 65 years of age and older, and two-thirds are women. Seventy percent of all ECT is insurance-covered. ECT specialists on average have incomes of more than $400,000 a year, twice that of other psychiatrists. The cost for inpatient ECT ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 per series (usually 8 to 12 individual sessions). Electroshock is a $5 billion a year industry. (All the above figures are approximate.)" -- Leonard Roy Frank, Editor, The Electroshock Quotationary --

We also seek an end to all forced treatment, including Kendra's Law (Involuntary Outpatient Torture.)

Kendra's Lawdoes not have any different outcomes than voluntary intensive services according to the New York State Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program Evaluation of June 30, 2009 when in use for 6 months – see Executive Summary under findings.

· Kendra's Law is disproportionately used in New York City. There is no reason to think residents of NYC are different than residents of the rest of New York State so the logical conclusion is it is only used more often in NYC thus depriving NYC residents of civil liberties because it is easier to use there, not because it makes more sense. NYC also uses less voluntary agreements than the rest of the state where voluntary agreements are usually tried first before court ordered AOT- also from the Findings Section of the Executive Summary.

Kendra's Law is disproportionately used on African Americans and Latinos. The executive summary says the reasons for this difference are 'beyond its purview' other than generalizing about African American's socio-economic status and use of the public system with no data to back up these stereotypes. There is no escaping the fact that the use of AOT in NYC is racist in its effect.

· Kendra's Law is not used much more often on people who are being discharged from the hospital than as a 'preventative measure' thus belying the original claims and intent of what was called "Kendra's Law" after someone who was killed by someone seeking services that did not receive them and was not hospitalized. Thus, the entire rationalization for depriving citizens of New York State with psychiatric labels is false and based on fear mongering rather than on the reality of the implementation of this program.

· Kendra's Law takes away the individual decision making power of citizens who have committed no crime about their choice to treat, not treat or how to treat what is considered by many to be a medical condition. There are many medical conditions that put people themselves and other citizens at risk but none of these lead to forced treatment thus AOT discriminates on the basis of perceived disability, a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Examples are people with diabetes who do not treat their illness and are dangerous behind the wheel of a car as well as at risk for kidney failure, blindness and loss of limbs, people with epilepsy in danger of brain damage and also behind the wheel of a car, people with heart and blood pressure conditions, a risk to themselves and others (when driving) to the point of death by heart attack or stroke.

· Kendra's Law takes one group of citizens and singles them out for lesser rights as American Citizens than any other group on the pretext of paternalistic beneficence. There is no escaping the fact that this is discrimination pure and simple based on ignorance and prejudice.

· Kendra's Law costs much more money than voluntary treatment, no treatment or alternatives to traditional treatment and according to the Evaluation has led to lack of services for citizens who seek voluntary treatment in the public system. In what other field of "medicine" would the unwilling go to the front of the line and those seeking care go to the back? Motivated people are much more likely to benefit from services than those who do not seek nor want them. This is both economically and logically an absurd use of limited state resources.

· Kendra's Law does not work to prevent violence or arrest. See Kisely S. Cambell LA, Preston N. Compulsory community and involuntary outpatient treatment for people with severe mental disorders. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Review 2005, Issue3 Art. No. CD004408 pub2 DOI: 10 1002/14651858 CD004408 pub2 This study found little beneficial effect. "In terms of numbers needed to treat, it would take 85 OPC orders to prevent one readmission, 27 to prevent one episode of homelessness and 238 to prevent one arrest.

· Kendra's Law promotes prejudice, undermines confidence and sense of self determination, takes away civil rights from several groups historically victims of prejudice and discriminatory laws people called "mentally ill" by society and African Americans and Hispanics and others.

· Kendra's Law is an ineffective use of New York State's limited economic resources, is prejudicial and discriminatory in its use, does not do what it purports to do and performs no better than voluntary services. "Kendra's Law" or AOT should be allowed to sunset now.


Mental Patients Liberation Alliance, people subjected to psychiatry: Everyone is at risk.


72 Hour Demonstration/Celebration/Vigil

additional video and websites where people can sign on:

WHEN: Thursday July 14, 2011 at 12:00PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
WHERE: West Lawn
New York State Capitol Building
State and Swan Streets
Albany, New York 12210

Please contact for interview. Photos permitted.

On Friday July 15 from 9 AM - 5 PM

OPEN HOUSE at The Alliance's Human Rights Action Center 383.5 MADison Avenue, Albany, NY 12210