Campaign Victory! Forced Electroshock of Elizabeth Ellis Ended!
This is your gateway to the latest news and background info about the successful campaign to stop the involuntary electroshock of MindFreedom member Elizabeth Ellis, a 67-year-old resident of Minnesota. Elizabeth was court ordered to receive ECT (also known as electroconvulsive therapy) on both an inpatient basis, and outpatient basis while living in her own home. [Updated 5/30/11]
GATEWAY: The Forced Outpatient Electroshock of Elizabeth Ellis Has Been Stopped!
Latest news: VICTORY
On 30 May 2011, Elizabeth Ellis thanked the MindFreedom community:
"I'm doing real fine. i am so appreciative of such good support from MindFreedom supporters. If it hadn't been for MindFreedom I would be getting forced shock. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the support!"
No forced electroshock over Elizabeth's wishes!
Judge issues ruling on 25 April 2011
Bottom line: No forced electroshock (unless diagnosed catatonic)!
Elizabeth's release, radio interview, condition and hospital return are discussed in this YouTube video:
Elizabeth and Forced Shock:
Elizabeth Ellis of Moorhead, Minnesota has received more than a dozen involuntary court-ordered electroshocks in the Winter of 2011, including an outpatient forced electroshock on 12 January 2011.
Elizabeth, 67, is a retired school counselor and teacher, with a master's degree in counseling. She strongly objects to electroshock, and its impact on her memory and mind.
So on 27 January 2011, Elizabeth sat at home with her supportive husband Robert (photo on right). Elizabeth refused to report for another outpatient ECT - also known as electroconvulsive therapy.
Apparently, her "sit in" has cost Elizabeth her liberty on 18 February 2011. She faces "months" of "maintenance" forced electroshock.
Since about March 11, Elizabeth has been held in the dreaded Anoka psychiatric institution, the place where she was originally forcibly electroshocked at the end of 2010. This is the place that forcibly electroshocked Ray Sandford.
Please contact these elected officials, starting with US Senator Al Franken.
Ask that federal funding of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject be immediately ended:
Timeline of Elizabeth Campaign, With Background Info
24 May 2011 - For the first time in about three months, Elizabeth is free and driven home, free of forced electroshock. While under outpatient commitment and forced drugs, Elizabeth has won her main goals of getting out of the institution, and ending her electroshock! She had her husband Robert are grateful to MindFreedom members and all supporters who have helped them these past months.
7 April 2011 - An important hearing was on this date about the forced electroshock of Elizabeth Ellis. Elizabeth had a new attorney Ryan Magnus. To donate directly to the Elizabeth's legal expenses via her attorney's office, click here.
19 February 2011: Probably because Anoka psychiatric institution was full, we understand Elizabeth was driven quite some distance away from her home to a psychiatric facility in Fergus Falls. Apparently, the psychiatric system is waiting for a bed to open up in Anoka, where she would be scheduled to have more involuntary electroshocks.
MindFreedom was informed by Elizabeth's daughter, Susan Opp, that Elizabeth has been picked up and placed in a hospital. Because Governor was non-responsive, perhaps because of a stated preference not to discuss his own mental health care details, MFI encourages people to contact other elected officials:
Even three weeks after MindFreedom discussed Elizabeth's case at length with Governor of Minnesota's constituent outreach staff person Katie Troyer, Ms. Troyer has yet to even return a call or e-mail to MindFreedom.
A source in Minnesota told MindFreedom that issues involving mental health may make the new Governor Mark Dayton personally uncomfortable. On 27 Dec. 2009, the Minnesota Star Tribune reported that in a brief "10 minute" interview, Dayton - then running for Governor - disclosed that he himself had been under years of mental health care for serious depression and alcoholism, but he did not want to release any of the treatment details. At the time, there was even unsubstantiated speculation this may have included electroshock. The reporter called him an "enigmatic millionaire."
Governor Dayton has a right to say nothing about his own mental health care. But he and his staff are wrong to say nothing about the human right of Elizabeth Dayton to say "no" to electroshock.
16 February 2011
Documents now on web: You may now download PDF copies of the signed court and agency documents that order the involuntary electroshock -- including on an outpatient basis -- of Elizabeth Ellis of Minnesota. Elizabeth faxed these documents to MindFreedom, anticipating that she may lose her liberty:
MindFreedom issues Alert 2,about the court documents Elizabeth received threatening to lock her up again and forcibly electroshock her, because she refused her outpatient electroshock.
How Can the Mental Health System Get an "Egypt" Moment, blogs David Oaks, MFI Director: Oppressed people in Egypt rose up in nonviolent revolution. Then why not those concerned about the extreme and overwhelming torture people like Elizabeth experience from a corrupt mental health industry?
12 February - Elizabeth on Web Radio: Hear Elizabeth Ellis interviewed on the first half of the MindFreedom Web Radio Hour, free here.
28 January 2011 - FDA Panel Says ECT Device "Hazardous": By coincidence, the exact day after Elizabeth said "no" to her forced outpatient electroshock, an FDA panel voted that the device is unsafe, and should finally be tested by the FDA for safety for the first time in its more than 70 years of use in the USA.
27 January 2011 -- The day Elizabeth and her husband stayed at home, and refused to report for her scheduled involuntary outpatient electroshock by Nadeem Haider at the electroshock clinic in nearby Fargo.
Original Alert that MindFreedom e-mailed out about Elizabeth Ellis forced electroshock.
23 January 2011 - Elizabeth, who is a member of MindFreedom, announces on a stunned MFI international member teleconference that she is under a court order to have involuntary electroshocks on an outpatient basis. MindFreedom works with Elizabeth on an alert.
12 January 2011: Elizabeth does agree to her initial involuntary outpatient electroshock, going to nearby Fargo for an electroshock administered by psychiatrist Nadeem Haider.
5 January 2011: Elizabeth is released from Anoka psychiatric institution, with a 'provisional' release that says she must continue to receive involuntary outpatient electroshocks.
20 September 2010: Elizabeth is locked up in a psychiatric facility. She will eventually receive a dozen involuntary electroshocks during several months of institutionalization.
Elizabeth said her records show she even had to be held in a chair and dragged to the procedure, because she felt so strongly opposed. Her memory of these events has been shattered, and she has to rely on her records for this information.
Elizabeth and her daughter, Susan Opp, agree about the circumstances that led up to this psychiatric lock-up. However, mother and daughter strongly disagree about whether the lock-up was necessary, and whether involuntary electroshock was called for.
Elizabeth's 69-year-old sister had been dying from cancer for some time. Elizabeth was of course upset. While MindFreedom has not heard of any report of danger to self or others by Elizabeth, some felt that Elizabeth's emotional reactions at this time were "unusual," such as keeping her eyes closed in the hospital even while walking, or keeping her mouth open with her head at an angle.
Literally hours after Elizabeth's sister died, literally feet away from her sister's death bed in the hospital, Elizabeth's daughter, Susan, decided to hold her mom in a small room, and ask psychiatric personnel to lock up her mother on the spot for a psychiatric evaluation. Susan told MindFreedom she felt this made sense since it was convenient because Elizabeth was at the hospital anyway for her sister's death.
The mental health system claims that Elizabeth lost weight in the institution, and needed forced electroshock to live. Elizabeth said her weight loss was not life-threatening, and that since she's been out she's been healthy, active, and eating. Her husband Robert agrees, and supports Elizabeth's right to be free of electroshock.
According to Elizabeth, Susan herself is in the mental health industry, working at a mental health facility in Fargo called Prairie St. John's with people diagnosed with mental and addiction issues, and going to nursing school.
More info about Elizabeth campaign and electroshock:
Minnesota residents: MindFreedom Twin Cities is active and meeting, you can network with them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota & Forced Electroshock: Elizabeth is not the only Minnesotan ordered to have involuntary outpatient electroshock. MindFreedom International held a successful international campaign on behalf of Ray Sandford to stop his own forced shock. Read about Ray's campaign here.
MindFreedom has a united "Zap Back Initiative" chaired by shock survivor Mary Maddock, to network all individuals and groups fighting electroshock human rights violations. Join MindFreedom and then get on the MFI Zapback Email List, where the Elizabeth Campaign is being coordinated.
Outpatient Commitment: Because of the Tucson shooting tragedy, the month of January has been filled with media coverage promoting laws expanding involuntary outpatient psychiatric procedures, but hardly ever quoting representatives of groups run by mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors with the "other side of the story." But Elizabeth's struggle shows the logical conclusion of a simplistic solution that makes our homes into psychiatric institutions. Click here to read about media bigotry in mental health coverage of the Arizona shootings.