An article yesterday in the Irish Times regarding asylums in Ireland makes for very disturbing reading.
Dr Damien Brennan of Trinity College Dublin has recently launched a book detailing Ireland’s ‘mental health’ structure, then and now; Irish Insanity: 1800-2000 .
Dr Brennan worked as a mental health nurse in St Loman’s, Grangegorman and Portrane. He said “there was a harshness and dehumanising aspect that was very much like the Magdalene laundry.”
Here’s a couple of the more disturbing facts in this article:
(1) Medical professionals and local communities protecting their economic interests played a major role in the incarceration of tens of thousands of people in (Irish) asylums.
(2) Point 1 above- can’t be blamed on the church; it was a State-run project. We did it as communities, as societies.
(3) Ireland in the 1950s had the world’s highest rate of mental hospital residency.
(4) Point 3 above – had little to do with the mental state of the admitted individuals. Rather, it was driven by factors such as law, economics and vested interests, including the creation of a medical treatment hierarchy that continues today.
(5) The staff had a stake in this. The medics and nurses had their professional interests in this. Economically, it became very important.
And the most disturbing points:
(6) One definite factor he said was the “medical takeover of hospitals” in the mid-19th century. “Medics gained control of inspections, directors and clinical positions and that maintains today – even post Vision for Change.”
(7) “I would be concerned about new markets of diagnosis being opened up, for example, the diagnosis of attention deficit disorder. You find schools will get resources where it is diagnosed, and that’s a poor dynamic. It reminds me of the mental hospital system expanding as a business, on the basis of continued diagnosis.”
(8) “The current State policy on mental healthcare was written by an expert group comprising two service users, a chairperson and 15 members of professional bodies. Vision for Change gave them an opportunity to write their job descriptions in the post-institutional phase.” and further “The fact that we go to these professional groups, myself included, as the initial point of contact – I’m not sure how useful that is.”
So this could never happen in 2013, right? Wrong, and we are allowing it to continue; yes – you, me and every Irish citizen who sit back and allow these so-called professionals to incarcerate a young (16 year old) girl against her will and medicate her to the point of incapacity against her mother’s wishes. This case is on-going in High Court proceedings – The Mother v HSE Psychiatrists (author’s case name). Where is this young girl’s human rights. What human rights does the mother have in protecting her child? None it seems! We are allowing these so-called HSE professionals to violate this young girl’s body with harmful and life-threatening dangerous drugs. She was never in danger of hurting herself (or anyone else for that matter). For a insight into which dangerous drugs this girl was prescribed, see my previous post here.
The dubious actions by the HSE using an ex-parte procedure was described by the High Court Judge as “a very frail procedure, putting it at its mildest.” Let us not forget that this is a test-case and will set a precedent for every mother or parent who seeks help for their child in a HSE run institute. I do hope that this girl will not end up as another statistic in the next report on HSE deaths.
In July (Irish Times) the mother told Justice George Birmingham (in the High Court) that “her daughter walks like a 70-year-old woman since anti-psychotic drugs were administered to her”. She said her daughter was hunched over, her arms were stiff at her side and she was shuffling along when she visited her.
Last Thursday (24th October) the case came up again. Justice Birmingham said that all the existing orders, including those allowing the use of anti-psychotic drugs, should be continued (Irish Times). He said he would hear the matter again on December 5th.
This week our ‘Minister for Justice’ Alan Shatter has ordered an independent report into two cases where Roma children were removed from their parents by the gardai (over doubts about their parentage) and rightly so. What about a young 16 year old who is incarcerated by the HSE and pumped with mind-altering dangerous drugs? Surely an investigation is warranted here too?
BTW, I should probably make myself clear; I have the utmost respect for Alan Shatter. I don’t always agree with his decisions, but I think he’s a good man, not like the other dubious Ministers I could mention, but won’t. Maybe I should brush up on the auld defamation law. Truth and honest opinion can only go so far!