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Victory for John Kelly! Forced Electroshock Stopped... So Far

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Apparently because of many complaints, the forced electroshock of John Kelly in Rockland Psychiatric Center has been prevented. Attorney Aaron Frishberg had issued an alert on 30 July 2007 alert about his client John Kelly facing more forced electroshock in Rockland Psychiatric Center. MindFreedom distributed the alert to thousands of people, and many made their concern known to the psychiatric institution.

Victory for John Kelly! Forced Electroshock Stopped... So Far

New York State Office of Mental Health runs Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC).

6 August 2007

Forced Shock Ended After Human Rights Alert Goes Public

Aaron Frishberg, John Kelly's attorney, has been informed by counsel for Rockland Psychiatric Center in New York State that the institution has decided to withdraw its petition to use electroshock (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) on John Kelly over his objection, "without prejudice," and to try to work with John Kelly to find alternative treatments.

"Without prejudice" means that Rockland Psychiatric Center has not promised that it will never bring a petition for the same order at some later time.

Mr. Frischberg said, "It is to the credit of Rockland Psychiatric Center and its executive director, James Bopp, that the hospital is looking for an alternative to ECT over John Kelly's objections. Thank you for your support for John Kelly."

MindFreedom director David Oaks said, "For those who ask whether human rights alerts have an impact, here is another example to point to. While we have no proof, the fact is that a few days after MindFreedom alerted the public the institution changed course. Thank you everyone! Let's redouble our efforts now to end all forced shock, forever, in New York State, and the world. Mr. Frishberg has also taught a lesson to all attorneys in a similar situation: Remember the court of public opinion!"

Below  are excerpts from the original  alert:

30 July 2007

"They Ruined My Memory," Says John Kelly Who Faces More Forced Electroshock in New York State

From Office of Attorney Aaron Frishberg  -
Rockland Psychiatric Center, a New York State psychiatric hospital in Rockland County, New York, is going to court for an order to allow it to administer two to three Electro-Convulsive Treatments (ECT) a week for up to six months to John Francis Kelly, a 54-year-old man who has been an involuntary patient at state hospitals for the last three years.
The hearing will be held on the afternoon of 13 August 2007, at Rockland County Supreme Court.
Having had the experience, John says, “I had nine shock treatments at Middletown Hospital. They ruined my memory.”
John is being represented in court by Aaron Frishberg, a private attorney who is a member of MindFreedom.

ACTION: Write a strong but polite message to James Bopp, Executive Director, RPC:

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: (845) 359-1000
  • Fax: (845) 359-3143
  • Postal mail: James Bopp, Executive Director
    Rockland Psychiatric Center
    140 Old Orangeburg Road
    Orangeburg, New York 10962

Sample message:

"I urge you not to force John Kelly to have electroshock."

Adding your own words is most effective.
You may also send letters of support to:
John Kelly
Building 58, Ward 404
Rockland Psychiatric Center
140 Old Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, New York 10962

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Chuck Hughes is a psychiatric survivor activist from Santa Barbara, California.

"I find inspiration and mental support in MindFreedom," says Chuck. "I like associating with like-minded activists for human rights in mental health. When I go into a Board or Commission and say I am a member of MindFreedom International. It gives what I say a lot more validity and my voice carries a lot farther. My first of eight involuntarily institutionalizations was at age 23. I have witnessed much injustice in mental health. I have been involved with the user and survivor movement since 1992. My goal is to help stop forced outpatient psychiatric procedures, seclusion, restraints and other human rights violations, psychiatric abuse and torture. Of particular concern is the elimination of forced electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) on people of all ages."
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