Two ways to protect yourself against forced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

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Podcast Transcript

Hi everyone, welcome to the Life After ECT podcast. I’m your host, Anna. I’m a child drug and teen electroshock survivor. I am also the founder and director the newly established nonprofit, Life After ECT inc., a 501(c)(3) charitble organazation dedicated to improving the lives of those harmed by ECT through education, advocacy, and research. You can learn more about our work and how to get involved in the show notes.

Before we begin, a quick content warning: this episode touches lightly on forced ECT, and includes links to content with forced ECT stories. Please practice self-care and feel free to skip any content that might be distressing to you.

Lets get started.

In today’s episode I want to share an important resource for those who may be facing forced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Most people who hear about modern ECT only know it as a new and improved, voluntary treatment. Some may be surprised to learn that forced ECT still happens in modern times. This is where MindFreedom International comes in. MindFreedom International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting human rights in mental health care through advocacy, support, and education.

According to their website, MindFreedom International has three primary goals:

  • Challenge human rights abuses in mental health care, such as coerced and/or fraudulent drugging, electroshock therapy, and institutionalization.
  • Support the self-determination of psychiatric survivors and consumers.
  • Promote humane and effective mental health care.

One of their key initiatives is the Shield Program.

MindFreedom International’s Shield Program

The Shield Program is a free service that allows individuals to record their psychiatric treatment preferences in advance through a private online form. If someone faces unwanted psychiatric treatment, they can contact MindFreedom International to initiate a public advocacy campaign on their behalf. Volunteers and fellow Shield members will then respectfully press the involved institutions to honor the individual’s rights and preferences.

While outcomes can’t be guaranteed, past campaigns have successfully reduced or even ended coerced psychiatric treatments.

It’s important to note that the Shield is not a legal substitute for a psychiatric advance directive, or PAD, which is also highly recommended for anyone wanting to formally assert their treatment preferences.

If you or someone you care about is facing forced ECT, or if you want to support others in this situation, consider donating or becoming an advocate. For more information, please check out the MindFreedom links below.

In summary, forced ECT still happens, and not always for the dire curcumstances were assured its reserve it for. Two ways you can protect yourself or a loved one from forced treatment is through psychiactric advanced directives and Mindfreedom’s Sheild program.

Thanks for tuning in to the Life After ECT Podcast. Take care.

Psychiactric Advanced Directives

Psychiactric Advanced Directive Info

Psychiactric Advanced Directives Template Examples

Mindfreedom Links

Example Mindfreedom Cases

Forced ECT Examples

International ECT Survey

Support reforms that protect ECT patients by signing and sharing the Audit ECT Petition


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.