Image for Human rights atrocity in Victorian psychiatric hospitals

*Pic: ECT ... (from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

This is an Australian story.

I was profoundly shocked to hear that Garth Daniels’ had received over 80 electro convulsive therapy (ECTs) since being at Upton House, Box Hill Hospital’s psychiatric facility in Victoria.

I’m committed to doing all that I can to raise awareness and stop this Human Rights atrocity.

Let alone psychotropic medication, I can only begin to imagine the damage the ECTs have done to his brain.

February 14, 2016, the writing is on the wall ...

To this point, despite this statement in the following news article, ‘Mr Daniels and his family say the 40-year-old, who is an involuntary patient at the Upton House psychiatric hospital in Box Hill, has been administered about 75 electric shocks in six months and spent almost 60 days last year tied to his bed with Velcro straps’, this treatment has continued. Garth has received more ECTs. 

The awful truth is ‘a spokesman for Eastern Health supplied a statement saying, Eastern Health provides treatment to all its mental health patients in accordance with the law and appropriate clinical guidelines.’

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March 22, at a Melbourne Supreme Court hearing, Garth ends his fruitless appeal for help saying, ‘I’m not allowed out of hospital, I’m not allowed to go home, I have no leave, I can’t have lunch with my dad and I don’t know when they’re going to stop shocking me. I’m scared they’re going to shock me to death.’ 

Australian psychiatrist, Dr Niall (Jock) McLaren, who’s recently assessed Garth, said, ‘They need to realise that 20 years of conventional treatment has adjectively failed, and if they continue on the present course, this man could die.’

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March 30, my open letter posted to Garth’s family on Facebook:

‘Dear Bernard, Marilyn and Andre Daniels,

I became aware of what was happening to your son and brother a couple of months ago, via this 2015 ABC news story:

I know that none of the links I’ve included here will be news to any of you. They probably will be for my FB friends. Nonetheless you’ll get the gist of my support and passionate commitment to spread the word.

I found your ‘URGENT’ 2013 letter to the Victorian Parliamentary Secretary of Health, Ms Georgie Crozier MLC:

Since then I’ve further researched to find out more, this 2008 story:

2016? I’ve learnt that you, Bernard, have been banned from seeing your son, while Marilyn and Andre still can.

A couple of my of 35 out of 495 FB friends that have accepted invitations to LIKE the following: have asked whether or not there has been media coverage and, who’s in the ring fighting for Garth’s release. I hope the links I’ve included will help them to learn more.

I know Australia’s Dr Niall (Jock) McLaren is doing what he can. I cannot think of a better psychiatrist to have onside. I’ve heard this 2016 interview with Dr Peter Breggin: where he’d thought Garth would be released.

NUH! Something went wrong.

I’ve only just found this petition, which will be sent to the Victorian Minister for Mental Health and 7 other key players. It currently has 1559 supporters but needs 941 more to reach 2500:

I’m tracking appalling up-to-date information about what’s happening to Garth ... 86 ECTs since September 2015. I can only begin to imagine the impact this has had on your entire family. I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be physically locked out of a locked psychiatric ward for 9 days in West Australia. Terribly traumatising but nothing compared to what you have all gone through, for years.

Beyond what I’ve learnt so far, I can only imagine additional doors you’ve knocked on to stop what’s happening to Garth and get help to release him. Even so, I will also knock on doors, Amnesty and as many as I can think of.

In your enduring ability to withstand the horrendous suffering inflicted by Victoria’s so-called ‘mental health’ system, so-called ‘hospital’, so-called ‘psychiatrists’, you have my deepest respect and support.

I hope and pray that this open letter to you will somehow add to your ongoing efforts to secure Garth’s release. Just as I hope you will all be on your way to Brisbane to live, where I’ve no doubt Dr Jock McLaren’s input will make a life-giving difference. I hope even more that you’ll be successful in suing the backsides off Box Hill Hospital.’

April 1, the United Nations, applying their Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, have sent a request to the ‘State party’ to ‘take all necessary measures to ensure the suspension of the forced electroshock therapy (ECT) to Garth Jason Daniels, while his case is under consideration by the Committee.’

Since that letter was sent to the State party, Garth has had more ECTs at Upton House.

Wednesday April 6, he was transferred to Dandenong Hospital’s secure psychiatric ward. Two days later, he received another ECT, one more today and more are scheduled.

Overseen by Dr Paul Katz (Executive Clinical Director of Mental Health at Eastern Health, Victoria) Dr Anthony Cidoni Head of Dandenong Hospital Adult Mental Health informed Garth’s father, the established treatment set up by Upton House will continue.

As with Upton House, his father has been refused permission to see his son.

Dr Paul Katz says this treatment is in accordance with Victoria’s 2014 Mental Health Act. Hence, I strongly call for drastic changes to it.

More importantly, I call for an urgent Royal Commission into Human Rights Violations in Australian Psychiatric Hospitals.

*Dr Suzanne Covich is a deeply committed Human Rights activist, sees this as her lifelong trip. Now standing with people violated by Australia’s psychiatric industry, she’s an author, public speaker and recently retired West Australian High School English teacher who grew up in a southern Tasmanian country town. Throughout her life she’s always stood alongside vulnerable people who’ve been violated by powerful others. Forced to leave High School at 13, she’s tacked up 5 university tickets, has won awards for her writing and is the first Australian to win 2 National Excellence In Teaching Awards (NEITA). Her childhood memoir When We Remember They Call Us Liars (Fremantle Press, 2012) is the cream on her cake.