Human Rights of the Mentally Ill focus of lunchtime seminar

Thursday, 12 January 2006

An urgent need for reform of mental health legislation in Ireland is the focus of a lunchtime seminar at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway on Friday, 13th January 2006.

John McCarthy, the subject of a recent RTE Would You Believe documentary, Diary of a Madman, which chronicled his personal experience of severe mental illness, will deliver a talk on Mental Health, Human Rights and the Law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Earl's Island at 12.30pm. The Corkman has drawn on his own experience of mental illness which led to suicidal tendencies, extreme loneliness and isolation over a three-year period that saw him admitted to several mental health institutions.

Although his illness almost cost him his home, his livelihood and even his own life, McCarthy has recovered to become an ardent campaigner for the rights of the mentally ill.

As part of PRO Cork Advocacy Network, McCarthy has been campaigning for a change in the law regarding the treatment of those with mental health problems, and a change in society which would give people the dignity they deserve. He believes that until the law is changed to end forced incarceration, forced medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of mentally ill patients, society will not change its attitude towards the issue of mental health.

McCarthy has been invited as a delegate to a forthcoming United Nations Ad hoc committee hearing on the rights of the disabled. He is a member of MindFreedom, an international organisation that campaigns for the human rights of the mentally ill and has written a book of poetry based on his experiences, Hope on a Rope.

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