Grandfather Dies From Suicide Following Forced ECT

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Victoria coroner calls for review of guidelines after the preventable death of forced ECT patient Gerard Helliar.

In nearly 20 years fighting mental illness, Gerard had received over 200 hundred ECT treatments.

The ECT treatments continued in spite of Helliar expressing dislike for them to family and doctors as well as the impact they had on his memory.

According to his daughter, “He would often be very scared and anxious after treatment.”

A suicide attempt led to Gerard’s death.

According to the coroner, Peter White, there was no evidence the forced ECT treatments would have helped Heliair. White says they caused more suffering.

The coroner believes Helliar’s death could have been prevented had his care been better managed.


Anna is a childhood psychiatric drug and a teenage electroshock survivor. She founded Life After ECT to ensure people injured by electroconvulsive therapy have easy access to resources that can help them understand their injuries and find a path to recovery.