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John F McCarthy

Mental Health and The Law / Level 1

Awardee 2006

Mental Health and The Law / Level 1
Michael Collins
Cormac Lynch

John experienced a bout of madness 10 years ago and as a result spent a year in various mental institutions in Ireland.

The cruelty and neglect that John saw in these places obligated him to fight for the rights of those who did not emerge into recovery, and who still waste their lives stumbling around corridors sedated into compliance. Having campaigned long and hard for change to this situation he came to realize that the only route to change, in a real sense, was through changing the law, hence his project Mental Health and the Law.

John worked to reduce the great stigma attached to mental health issues. He worked to highlight the normality of madness and reduce the incidence of suicide by allowing people to express their feelings without fear and stigma – to make mental health a high profile public and political issue. He also worked to change the law regarding forced treatment for people in institutional care.

John is author of Hope on a Rope, The Double House. He was a member of Mind freedom Ireland, Wnusp. P.r.o. Cork Advocacy Network and sat on the board of Concern Worldwide.

John sadly passed away in early 2012.

The initial project led to the development of madprideireland, who believe that the best way to promote understanding of the issues surrounding mental health is to engage the community through active participation in a fun environment. They organise numerous events and workshops throughout Ireland.

John F McCarthy, Impact Award, 2006


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