‘Dehumanising’ mental services widely criticised

DOCTORS, carers, campaigners and former patients have spoken out against “abusive, dehumanising and discriminatory” mental health services at a unique “recovery” conference at UCC yesterday.

Held in honour of the late Dr Michael Corry, who avidly campaigned to bring humanity to the services, the two-day event was organised by Dr Harry Gijbels (school of nursing) and Lydia Sapouna (school of applied social studies) UCC, and aims to open a debate on launching an Irish movement for critical voices against the status quo.

Dr Aine Tubridy, psychotherapist and partner of the late Dr Corry, said it was time to recognise that mental health problems came as a result of trauma, lack of love, difficult childhoods and situations and not because of a “broken brain”. She said people with mental health problems need compassion and love and not a system based on fear and medication.

Making an emotional and passionate presentation, campaigner Grainne Humphrys, whose partner John Hunt is involuntarily detained, said he is worn down, humiliated and broken.

Mr Hunt has spent more than four years locked up in Carraig Mór in Cork city, as reported in the Irish Examiner this year.

Ms Humphrys maintains his “treatment” has further harmed and damaged him physically and mentally.

“John’s experiences have often not been put into context and prejudice has dogged him because he is viewed as ‘non-compliant’,” she said

“I believe our mental health system is punitive rather than loving, rendering people dependent, rather than independent.”

Ms Humphrys said it was disgraceful that only after media pressure and a visit from Green party senator Dan Boyle was she allowed a day pass for Mr Hunt without supervision.

Another campaigner, Mary Maddock, said there was far more harm than good being done within the services and that people were being poisoned with toxic medications.

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