Activist confronts doctors’ diagnosis

JOHN McCARTHY, the founder of the advocacy group, Mad Pride, has challenged the country’s leading psychiatrists to prove that he ever suffered a mental illness to justify him being locked up and forcibly medicated.

Mr McCarthy, who was in the care of the psychiatric service for over a decade and was locked up for a year, said yesterday it was wrong that anyone should be deprived of their freedom on the basis of guesswork by doctors.

“I will offer myself up to any member or group of members of the College of Psychiatrists to test me for any one of the four diagnoses that I was told by my psychiatrist I would have for the rest of my life, namely manic depression, unipolar depression, dysphoricilation — whatever that is — and paranoia.

“Any group from the College of Psychiatry can come along and test me. I will then allow them show the result of the tests in public and let them prove that they know what they are talking about.”

Mr McCarthy spoke after meeting independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan ias part of a campaign by Mad Pride to change Ireland’s mental health laws.

“I was told I had a chemical imbalance that could not be cured and I would have it for the rest of my life,” he said. “I was told that the only solution was medication and the sad thing is that I believed all that bullshit and took huge doses of medication that turned me into a zombie.

Mr McCarthy said he is not anti-medication or anti-psychiatry, but that he did oppose giving legal power to one profession to detain citizens based on guesswork. “There is a provision in the 2001 Mental Health Act that states you can be deprived of your freedom if two doctors agree you ‘might’ be a danger to yourself or others.”

“The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities guarantees equal rights to all people with disabilities. Article 14 clearly states you cannot lock somebody up because of any disability. We want the law changed to reflect that.”

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence