Mental Health Legal Committee Reception a Success

TORONTO - April 28, 2007 - The tenth anniversary reception and awards presentation of the Mental Health Legal Committee went off without a hitch last night.  The crowd of over one hundred guests including leading mental health advocates, their families and children, psychiatric survivors and at least one judge enjoyed the fine fare of The Raging Spoon Cafe while listening to MHLC founding chair Anita Szigeti’s address entitled, The Last Ten Years of Advocacy and the Next Ten

Szigeti reflected upon the committee’s accomplishments and expressed appreciation for the cooperation of the mental health Bar, including those she often appeared opposite.  She also identified the important challenges ahead, including cases in which the MHLC is presently intervening or seeking to intervene.

The address was followed by the presentation by MHLC acting chair Marshall Swadron of the committee’s inaugural advocacy awards to Ms. Szigeti and to noted disability lawyer Carla McKague and survivor advocates Randy Pritchard and Don Weitz

Mr. Pritchard credited the support of fellow survivors as getting him through the worst that the forensic psychiatric system could throw at him inside the maximum-secure Oak Ridge Division of the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene.  Mr. Weitz decried the resurgence in the use of electro-shock by psychiatrists.  He highlighted the fact that 70 percent of those receiving the controversial treatment are women and invited those present to a Mother’s Day Rally to Stop Shocking our Mothers and Grandmothers taking place in two weeks.

While Ms. McKague was unable to attend due to health reasons, her award was accepted on her behalf by former ARCH colleague Harry Beatty. A letter in tribute to Ms. McKague from the Honourable Madam Justice Anne Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was also read to those gathered.