Electroshock figures more than double in NZ

Fuseworks Ltd.

CCHR is concerned that electric shock treatment has more than doubled in the last year according to the latest statistics from the Director of Mental Health. Women receive more electroshock than men, including a fivefold increase in women aged 40-44 last year. In one area more than half were given without consent.

"We are appalled to see psychiatrists using more electroshock. This is a barbaric practice that should be relegated to the history books along with ice baths, organ removal and bloodletting," says Steve Green, director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) a mental health victim rights NGO.

The Commission believe there should be far more restrictions placed on the treatment and in 2005 people signed a petition to have the treatment banned from being used on pregnant women, children and the elderly.

Electroshock was extensively reviewed at this time where it was found that many parts of the country kept poor clinical notes and the Director of Mental Health then required that a register of its use be kept for national audits.

CCHR has investigated many cases of ECT abuse, including it being given without consent and even using it as a form of torture and threat on uncooperative patients. They are urging people who know anyone who has undergone the treatment to contact the Commission, by emailing them at cchr@xtra.co.nz or phoning 0800 777 555.

Electroshock has been around since the 1930s when psychiatrists decided to use it on humans after seeing pigs go docile from huge shocks prior to slaughter. It is still highly controversial with no understanding why or how it might work. The intent is to create a grand mal seizure as it was originally thought that an epileptic was not schizophrenic or mentally ill. Even though this has been firmly discredited, psychiatrists today still administer shocks to create seizures, something competent medical doctors would advise strongly against.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has been assisting victims of mental health abuse in New Zealand for over 30 years, including uncovering the shocking and drugging of young children at the infamous Lake Alice Hospital in the late 1970s. Almost 200 of these victims have been paid $13 million in compensation and officially apologised by the NZ government. CCHR was cofounded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus from the State University of New York Health Science Centre in Syracuse, New York.