Thomas Stephen Szasz, 1920 – 2012

“I am probably the only psychiatrist in the world whose hands are clean,” Szasz told the newspaper. “I have never committed anyone. I have never given electric shock. I have never, ever, given drugs to a mental patient.”

~Update: Thomas Szasz, Manlius psychiatrist who disputed existence of mental illness, dies at 92, John Mariani, Wednesday, September 12, 2012, The Post-Standard, Saracuse, New York.

Saturday Morning I saw the close of the historic 30th Anniversary Nation Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) conference in Cincinnati. The grand finale of this event was a rousing and invigorating talk by Bruce Levine lambasting corruption in psychiatry, and in his own profession of psychology. He was, in fact, calling for the abolition of the profession of psychiatry on the grounds of the extent to which it was contaminated by that corruption.

Sometime during the evening of the same day, a giant among giants as far as critics of mainstream psychiatry go, Dr. Thomas Stephen Szasz, passed away.

I flew back to Florida from Ohio on Sunday, September the 9th.

On the afternoon of Monday September 10th, during a teleconference, on a facebook page I ran across a report of Dr. Szasz passing. I immediately made mention of this comment to the people who were taking part in this teleconference. We did a quick Google news search, and decided it was probably nothing more than an internet rumor. There was nothing in Google news to indicate that he had died. Dr. Szasz, although 92 years of age, had just last year presented to an enthusiastic crowd at the International Society for Ethical Psychology & Psychiatry (ISEPP) conference in Los Angeles.

Tuesday I had more than enough reliable reports to conclude that he had expired. First there was an announcement on the ISEPP facebook page, and a link was provided to the article that sparked that announcement.

The New York Times on Wednesday reported on his death with an article that quoted E. Fuller Torrey and Edward Shorter, by no means friends of, nor friendly to, Dr. Szasz and his ideas. Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Human Alliance For Human Research Protection, uses the occasion to voice his differences in opinion from those expressed by Dr. Szasz rather than emphasizing any places where they might have been in agreement.

Usually when you are remembering a person, you turn to his friends rather than his enemies. Although it is curious that the New York Times should turn to Dr. Szasz’s enemies when remembering him, certainly Dr. Szasz’s legacy neither begins nor ends with the New York Times.

I think it goes without saying that some segments of the mainstream mass media are as corrupt as the psychiatrists they quote. A much more just and balanced appreciation, The Passing of Thomas Szasz, can be found in The New American.

Dr. Szasz’s distinctive voice, and his singular presence, will be sorely missed by many.

Ireland Loses A Champion For Human Rights

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0224/breaking48.html

irishtimes.com – Last Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 14:00

Death of controversial psychiatrist

CHARLIE TAYLOR

The death has taken place of the controversial psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Michael Corry, who caused anger last year over comments he made about the dangers of antidepressants. He was aged 60.

Dr Corry was reported to the Medical Council following an appearance on the Late Late Show in October 2009 in which he said side effects from antidepressants could tip somebody into suicidal behaviour and homicidal behaviour.

He was speaking following the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Sebastian Creane by Shane Clancy in Bray, Co Wicklow last August. On the show, Clancy’s mother and stepfather alleged that antidepressants had caused him to stab three people and then himself.

Dr Corry was heavily criticised for his comments on the show and a formal complaint was made by senior psychiatrist Professor Timothy Dinan of University College, Cork, to the Medical Council accusing him of “publicity seeking of an appalling kind.”

Dr Corry, a co-founder of the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine in Dun Laoghaire and of the privately-funded Clane Hospital in Co Kildare, also established the Wellbeing Foundation, an organisation which campaigns for psychiatric patients’ rights.

He was a long-term campaigner for the abolition of electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and in 2008 led a campaign to introduce a private members Bill in the Seanad which would prohibit the involuntary administration of ECT to patients without their informed consent.

Dr Corry died at his home in Claravale Co Wicklow on Monday following a short illness. He is survived by his partner Áine, children Louise, Amelia and Julian, their mother Anne, his brothers Martin and John, and sisters Anne and Sr. Premula,

His funeral service will take place at the Victorian Chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium, Harold’s Cross in Dublin at 2.30pm tomorrow.