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WHO opposes involuntary electroshock

MindFreedom spoke out to the World Health Organization against the use of electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject. As a result, in a WHO manual about the law and mental health, WHO came out in writing against involuntary electroshock. Here is the quote and citation.

"Although significant controversy surrounds electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and some people believe it should be abolished, it has been and continues to be used in many countries for certain mental disorders. If ECT is used, it should only be administered after obtaining informed consent.

"And it should only be administered in modified form, i.e. with the use of anaesthesia and muscle relaxants. The prectice of using unmodified ECT should be stopped.

"There are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, and hence this should be prohibited through legislation".

page 64


Benedetto Saraceno, MD
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Acting Director
Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion

World Health Organization
20, avenue Appia
1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 791 3603/3634
Fax: +41 22 791 4160

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Peter Lehmann, editor, author, psychiatric survivor activist

Peter Lehmann of Berlin, Germany serves as one of the MindFreedom International representatives with the United Nations, and is a long-term supporter of MindFreedom campaigns and activities. Peter is a psychiatric survivor who has worked passionately for decades in Germany, Europe and internationally with a variety of groups for significant change in the mental health system. Peter is editor and publisher of a variety of books challenging human rights violations in the mental health system and promoting alternatives. His most recent book (co-edited with Peter Stastny, MD) is called "Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry." This book provides chapters from 61 leaders in changing the mental health system, and is available in the MindFreedom Mad Market.
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