[Hpn] ZAP BACK!! Another forced electroshock by NY State Office of Mental
Health -- www.MindFreedom.org DENDRITE
Tue, 13 Feb 2001 21:35:40 -0800
www.MindFreedom.org DENDRITE -- February 13, 2001
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NEWS ALERT: human rights and "mental health system."
A free project of Support Coalition International.
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NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH
FORCIBLY ELECTROSHOCKS ANOTHER PERSON!
*STOP* THE FORCED ELECTROSHOCK OF PAUL HENRI THOMAS!!!
THOMAS RESPONDS WITH DIGNIFIED RESISTANCE.
READ HIS "OPEN LETTER TO THE WORLD". THOMAS
ASKS FOR *YOUR* HELP TO WIN HIS "TOTAL FREEDOM
FROM THIS TORTURE AND TRAUMATIZATION!"
A NEW YORK STATE CONSUMER/SURVIVOR COALITION
CALLS ON *EVERYONE* TO CONTACT
NEW YORK STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS, *NOW*!
WEST BRENTWOOD, NEW YORK: Yes, forced electroshock
against the expressed wishes of the subject is a
fact of life in the USA, in 2001. And it's happening
again at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, one of New York
State's major psychiatric facilities.
Yesterday, the 49-year-old Paul Henri Thomas had
still another forced electroshock. His psychiatrist
applied electrodes to Thomas' temples and gave him
one more in a series of involuntary electroshocks
against Thomas's fervent objections.
Electroshock -- also known as electroconvulsive
therapy or ECT -- sends a powerful electrical
current through the brain of the subject.
How is forced electroshock possible in this day and
age? Technically, it's legal under New York State
law using a court order that is easy to obtain. An
attorney familiar with the New York Office of Mental
Health (OMH) said that forced electroshock is "fairly
routine" in the state, paid for by unknowing
The difference this time is that Thomas is part of a
Thomas is dignified, well-read and especially moving
in his resistance to shock. He is a proud African
American member of the "Consumer/Survivor/Ex-Patient
Coalition" of New York State, which is part of the
international mental health consumer/psychiatric
survivors human rights movement. This "C/S/X
Coalition" has voted to ask everyone -- inside or
outside New York State -- to contact New York State
elected officials to investigate OMH forced
electroshock. (An easy way for you to e-mail these
legislators is toward the BOTTOM of this alert.)
VIEW A PHOTO OF PAUL HENRI THOMAS, AND
PILGRIM PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, ON THIS WEB PAGE:
Here are a few edited excerpts directly from the
words of Paul Henri Thomas from inside Pilgrim
Psychiatric Center. We asked Thomas how he was able
to survive so many forced electroshocks, and still
stay so strong, to keep the faith?
DO SOMETHING PLEASE!
by Paul Henri Thomas
I am currently undergoing forced electroshock
treatment. But I would not call this electroshock
'treatment.' It is not medical.
The forced electroshock is horrible. It is horrible.
Maybe God himself or herself allowed me to hold onto
my faith. This torture and traumatization is not for
what I did wrong. I am being tortured because I
devoted myself to helping people as much as possible.
I am aware that to obtain progress for humanity we
have to suffer and endure. We have to absorb these
things. Other people ask me whether I think my life
is miserable because I receive forced electroshock.
No. The people doing this to me are miserable. I
have my pride and self respect.
I am strong. But no human being is invincible.
Please, please do whatever is possible to stop their
Machiavellianism. This is an arbitrary process of
court hearings and submitting me to a 'court order'
of electroshock treatment.
Do something, please! I need my total freedom out of
this center. I have all the rights of a respectable
human being and all his duties.
I thank you a lot. I ask God to bless you in
anticipation of your helping me in my torture and
traumatization. God bless you. Do whatever is possible!
THE PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVOR MOVEMENT "ZAPS BACK"
Sherry Taub, a member of the C/S/X Coalition, has
visited Paul recently. She said this about his
forced electroshock: "It's terrifying. I have a
psychiatric diagnosis and I'm frightened about what
that could mean. You can be stripped of any
semblance of human rights. There's no consideration
of you as a human being. This is harmful and
torturous to Paul. Any rational human being would
accept his understanding of this. This is not
helping people. It's doing him harm."
In a recent speech in front of OMH Commission James
L. Stone, Sherry said, "Wherever people stand on ECT
itself, everyone that I've spoken with agrees it
should not be *forced* on anyone. Everyone that I've
spoken with agrees that this is a clear violation of
human rights. But it *is* happening."
Like everyone who has spoken with Paul, Sherry is
especially impressed by him as a person. "Paul
actually comforts *us* about his forced electroshock
when we feel frustrated. He has a background as an
activist. He was part of the student human rights
movement when he lived in Haiti." Paul moved to the
USA in 1982 and became a US citizen. He still speaks
English with a Creole accent.
George Ebert of New York's Mental Patients
Liberation Alliance has also been supporting
Paul. George said, "I met Paul three weeks ago. I'm
amazed his thinking is so clear. His thinking is
clearer than mine. In every conversation I am
learning from him. He speaks four languages. I'm
very concerned about what the Office of Mental Health
might do. We've warned OMH that the Alliance will do
anything to call attention to this. I've been
through forced electroshock myself. This is scary
for me. Paul is in a lot better 'mental health' than
I am. I feel like I could be next."
Ironically, one of the alleged reasons Paul
is being held is that he continues to have a
"delusion" that he is inside a prison. Activists
like George and Sherry agree -- Paul *is* in a
prison. It's no delusion.
Movement advocates have obtained public attorneys
to help Paul zap back. His lawyers demanded a
hearing this Friday, Feb. 16, at the trial level.
Advocates are concerned they will be illegally
denied admittance because the hearing will be held
inside a room built inside Pilgrim Psychiatric Center.
Paul Henri Thomas is not the only person who has won
public attention while being forcibly shocked at
Pilgrim Psychiatric Center. Two months ago, a
similar alert went out about 25-year-old Adam
Szyszko, who also was receiving forced electroshock:
Since that alert, Adam's attorneys convinced
four judges to grant a full stay until a hearing
on March 29 in the appellate division in Brooklyn.
Hopefully, Paul's attorneys will also win this
Friday. But no matter what, the New York Office of
Mental Health must be investigated for its
involuntary electroshock. Otherwise, many more
people besides Paul and Adam will receive forced
OMH strategy is to give the public and media the
"silent treatment" about forced electroshock. But
there's one group of people OMH has to respond to:
The New York State elected officials who have the
power to cut OMH funding.
YOU CAN USE E-MAIL TO ZAP BACK *NOW*!
EASY ACTION YOU CAN TAKE WHEREVER YOU LIVE --
WHETHER OR NOT YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK STATE!
E-mail to New York State elected officials, today!
COPY AND PASTE the e-mail addresses below this
sample message. Please cut and paste the e-mail
addresses into the "bcc" section of your e-mail.
It's helpful to use the "bcc" section, because there
are so many e-mail addresses. By using "bcc" the
recipients won't be inconvenienced by a big "header"
at the top of their e-mail.
SAMPLE MESSAGE TO ELECTED OFFICIALS
Please investigate forced electroshock by the New
York Office of Mental Health! Stop the forced
electroshock of Paul Henri Thomas and Adam Szyszko!
I request that you contact the New York Office of
Mental Health (OMH) and ask these questions:
1. Is it true there are instances of involuntary
electroshock against the expressed wishes of the
client, inside New York State psychiatric facilities?
2. If OMH admits it does forced electroshock, how
many people receive it each year? Who keeps track?
3. What is OMH's policy about involuntary
electroshock? And how does this policy mesh with
OMH's stated policy of "consumer empowerment"?
The contact information for the New York Commissioner
of the Office of Mental Health is:
OMH Commissioner James L. Stone, MSW, CSW
New York State Office of Mental Health
44 Holland Avenue
Albany, New York 12229
Telephone: (518) 474-4403
Fax: (518) 474-2149
While I understand OMH cannot comment about a
particular client due to confidentiality, these are
reasonable policy questions that OMH can and should
answer. I look forward to hearing the results of
your inquiry with OMH.
[Your contact information]
USING THE ABOVE SAMPLE MESSAGE -- OR YOUR OWN CIVIL
WORDS -- CUT AND PASTE the below e-mail addresses
for New York State elected officials -- into the "bcc"
section of your email. Then *send*! Here are e-mail
addresses for the two US Senators, plus available
e-mail addresses for New York State Senators and
New York State Assembly Members:
THREE EXTRA ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE...
1. DIRECTLY CONTACT OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH YOURSELF!
Phone, fax, e-mail and/or write to OMH! Please stay *civil*!
The contact information for the OMH Commissioner is
inside the "sample message" above.
You can also call *dozens* of other internal phone
numbers directly inside OMH at the below web site,
to educate OMH employees' and their voice mail!
2. PLEASE COPY AND FORWARD THIS ALERT!
Broadcast this to all *appropriate* places on and
off the Internet, including friends, colleagues,
relevant e-mail lists, newsgroups, etc. Please
especially forward this to anyone you know in New
York State! The corporate media is again ignoring
this very real story, so e-mail this to all media,
especially in New York State.
3. DO YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK STATE? THEN
*YOU* CAN TAKE A REALLY IMPORTANT ACTION!!
Please directly and personally e-mail, phone, fax,
write and/or visit the offices for both the New York
State Assembly Member and your State Senator who
represent *you*. They know that every vote counts.
You can use the sample message above.
If at all possible, please follow-up! GET TO KNOW
the names of one or two staff people who work in
your home district office and/or the Albany office.
Politely request that this staff person directly
contact the Office of Mental Health, with your
reasonable constituent inquiry. PLEASE FOLLOW-UP
with this staff person to find out the results. Ask
for a full investigation! Keep Support Coalition in
touch with your progress at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You can locate your State Senator in most cases by
going to the below web site, click on "Senators,"
and use the map or zip code locator.
If you know your Assembly Member's name, you can
look up their contact information on this web site:
If you have any trouble finding out who your State
Assembly Member or State Senator is, simply inquire
with your local County elections office, listed in the
government section of your phone book.
And *everyone* in New York State (or outside) can
contact the US Senators from New York State, in both
their D.C. offices, and their nearest office to you.
For contact information on US Senators from New York:
AS PAUL SAYS, "I thank you a lot. God bless you.
Do whatever is possible!"
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UPDATE: One week after one of these alerts went out to stop
a psychiatric institution from hounding postal worker Arnie Smith
to pay for his own forced human rights abuses, Arnie won!
*** BRANCH LIKE DENDRITES DO *** Copy and forward this
alert to appropriate places on and off the Internet, just as
your brain uses your tree-like dendrites to network
billions of neurons. Thousands of interested people are
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