top of page
The History of MindFreedom Ireland

Helena King, Greg White, Dr Terry Lynch, Dr Peter Breggin and Cork Advocacy Network all played their part in the genesis of MindFreedom Ireland. It was their raising of critical psychiatric consciousness in the early years of the new millennium that led to a connection being established with MindFreedom International in America and its Director, David Oaks. Originally known as Support Coalition International, David Oaks had built up the organisation to be in the vanguard of the struggle for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system both in the US and around the world. A psychiatric survivor himself, David Oaks today leads a coalition of over 100 like-minded groups.

The initial contact with MindFreedom took place in September 2003 when Mary Maddock e-mailed David Oaks and began the process which led to the formation of MindFreedom Ireland.  The actual birthday was December 15th, 2003 and the inaugural meeting took place in the house of Helena King in Cork.  Just five people were present on that historic occasion - Helena King, Maria O'Mahony, Marguerite Gates, Mary Maddock and Jim Maddock.  Vowing to be as truly democratic as possible, it was agreed that Mary Maddock, a psychiatric survivor herself, would act as a liaison person with David Oaks.  Today MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International with whom we share our Mission Statement in addition to campaigning in a specifically Irish context.  We reject all discriminatory psychiatric labels and work to win human rights and alternatives for people who experience emotional distress.

MF Ireland Vision:

Our vision is a non-violent revolution in 'mental health care'

MF Ireland Goals:

  • Full human rights for people experiencing emotional distress

  • Challenge abuse by the psychiatric drug industry

  • Campaign for full legal recognition of Advanced Directives

  • Promote safe, humane and effective alternatives

  • Campaigns to abolish electroshock and has had 8 public electroshock protests


MF Ireland endeavours to promote activism, advocacy, peaceful protest, public education and mutual support.  While most of us are psychiatric survivors, we are open to all who support human rights including psychiatric professionals, advocates, family members and the general public.


MF Ireland is one of the very few totally independent groups in the mental health field with zero funding from the mental health system, government or drug companies.


MF Ireland supports informed choice in mental health care.  Some of our members choose to take psychiatric drugs, more do not.  We are united in saying 'No' to human rights violations by psychiatric drugging.  Drug companies often use fraud to promote their products.  The public is sold a myth of 'chemical imbalance'.  There is no scientific proof of a genetic or biological basis for any psychiatric diagnosis.

MF Ireland calls for a full range of voluntary, humane and safe alternatives for all who choose to use them.  These options should include mutual support, jobs, housing, peer-run programmes, nutrition, advocacy, quality counselling and other more holistic approaches.

Our Record:


Since our establishment in 2003, MindFreedom Ireland has achieved the following:

  • Established links with both the European Network of ex/Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) and the World Network of ex/Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP).

  • Supported the petition and signature-gathering campaign 'We Deserve to Know the Truth about Psychiatric Drugs' organised by Nuria O'Mahony

  • Given the evidence to the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Health which published its Report on 'The Adverse Effects of Psychiatric Drugs' in 2007

  • Conducted an on-going letter-writing campaign in the national press

  • Participated in RTE programmes Prime Time, The Big Bite, The Afternoon Show, Would You Believe, TG4, TV3's The Morning Show and documentary 'Out of Sight Out of Mind' and on national radio with Today with Pat Kenny, Talk to Joe, The Matt Cooper Show, The Right Hook, Spirit Moves, The Niall Boylan Show on 4FM, Cork 96FM, Tipp FM and Donegal Highland Radio

  • Mounted exhibitions and information stand at conferences in Ireland, UK, Germany, Denmark and the US.

  • Made submissions to The Mental Health Commission, the Expert Group, The Vision for Change Blueprint, Amendments to the 2001 Mental Health Act and proposed capacity legislation

  • Liaised with Independent MEP Kathy Sinnott in making submissions to the EU Green Paper on mental health

  • Established collaborative links with the International Network Towards Alternatives and Recovery (INTAR), Psychrights in Alaska, the Soteria Network in the Uk, the Campaign against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) in Canada and Patients' Rights Advocacy in New Zealand

  • Formed a close alliance with Asylum, the UK organisation for democratic psychiatry and its Campaign for the Abolition of the 'Schizophrenic Label' (CASL)

  • Represented by John McCarthy at the UN Ad Hoc Committee on Disability

  • Facilitated the establishment and inaugural meeting of Hearing Voices Ireland in Cork, November 2006

  • Organised the first-ever anti-electroshock protest in Ireland in May 2007 with further protests every year since. 

  • Supported Amnesty Ireland's campaign against psychiatric human rights abuse

  • Supported the Delete 59b Campaign to ban forced electroshock

  • Facilitate a weekly support 'Stand by Me' support group

  • Facilitate a weekly 'A Little Help from my Friends' music group

  • Organised 'Epidemic Exposed - Are Magic Bullets an Illusion?' talk by Robert Whittaker in 2011

  • Organised talk and launch of his new book Selfhood by Dr Terry Lynch in 2012

  • Organised a Selfhood discussion group

  • Held a major 10th Anniversary Conference September 2013 


The Designing of MindFreedom Ireland Logo


The MindFreedom Ireland logo in its present form is a fusion of Mel O 'Dea's original design combined with the black triangle and tricolour logo elements which were introduced by Richard Patterson.

Mel O'Dea:


I based the sign on the Celtic drawing that I picked up from a tourist office. I wanted the design to be distinctively Irish. The bird motive drew me.  Birds are an image of freedom and hope and the dove is a symbol of peace. I did the entire design myself, but the idea of using a Celtic motive came from Colette Ní Dhuinneacha. I hope the logo symbolises freedom, hope, peace and uncoercibility and that it represents the idea that the mind can never be truly tamed!

Richard Patterson:

I originally designed the tricolour and black triangle logo elements as the basis of a design that was once used for the online group page for Critical Voices Network Ireland. These elements later became the foundation for the logo for the Antipsychiatry Ireland online group. The tricolour component allows the logo to still be easily recognisable as Irish even at a distance. The black triangle is used in memory of all those who were labelled insane and killed in Germany by the Nazi's. 


bottom of page