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For Immediate Release
10 March 2010

Senate has no role silencing mental illness debate

The Church of Scientology rejects attempts by psychiatrists to use the Senate to try and gag an organisation because of its views on mental health.

“The Church of Scientology is entitled to hold views on particular psychiatric
practices, just as Professor Pat McGorry is, and to warn people of their dangers," Church spokesperson, Mr Cyrus Brooks, said.

“We of course, disagree with the Professor.

“However, it is not the role of the Senate to investigate any organisation because of its views on treating mental illness; in fact it would be an attack on free speech and democracy,” Mr Brooks said.

“The Church of Scientology has had a policy for over 50 years that people asking to be cured of any ailment should be sent to a doctor for a full medical exam where any underlying condition can be found and handled with competent medical assistance.

“Professor McGorry and fellow psychiatrists Louise Newman and Ian Hickie, are attempting to use the Parliament to silence critics of their profession.

“Why are they so fearful of criticism and debate?”

Mr Brooks urged all Senators to consider the precedent that would be set if their motivation for holding an inquiry was that they disagreed with an organisation’s views.

“This could have a chilling effect on free speech and debate in this country,” Mr Brooks said.

The Church of Scientology is not surprised that psychiatrists want to silence the Church and the human rights organisation, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), due to their success in stopping cruel psychiatric practices. The Church established CCHR with psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969.

Mr Brooks said both bodies have stood up for the rights of psychiatric patients for decades, including exposing Chelmsford Hospital’s ‘Deep Sleep Therapy’ by Sydney psychiatrist, Dr Harry Bailey, which killed 48 people.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a leading watchdog of the psychiatric profession, so it is understandable that psychiatrists would support Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon’s, call for a Senate inquiry into the Church of Scientology.

The Church and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights have supported
psychiatric patients, raised awareness and brought needed reforms to psychiatry and mental health, notably the over-drugging of children, the use of drug induced comas and shock treatment.

“We support parents' rights to be fully informed about adverse reactions to
psychiatric drugs including heart problems and suicidal behaviour, so they can decide for themselves about any treatment proposed for their families,” Mr Brooks said.

“Studies have shown people with underlying physical conditions can exhibit
psychiatric symptoms and that a full searching medical exam will uncover this.

“The Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved any Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor anti-depressants for children under 18 for depression, yet the CCHR revealed that 30,000 children under 18, including 48 babies are on antidepressants.

“We live in a country where we are free to express our beliefs and promote our opinions on this very important issue. These professors think any organisation not agreeing with them should be criticized despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights’ challenges of the psychiatric industry have earned the respect of governments internationally as well as earning a commendation from the UN's Human Rights Committee for its work bringing about changes to over 30 pieces of mental health legislation to make real human rights possible.

“The work done by the Church and CCHR has actually made our communities safer as far as mental health is concerned and earned a commendation from the UN's Human Rights Committee,” Mr Brooks said.

Contact: Cyrus Brooks
(02) 9638-5200 / (02) 9692 7308: public_affairs@scientology.net.au




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