Citizens Commission on Human Rights Investigating Use of ECT on Children

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Investigating Use of ECT on Children May 17, 2017

Taken from a press release by Citizens Commission on Human Rights Florida.


The only state in the country to issue an annual ECT report is Texas where in 2014 six deaths were reported following the use of electroshock.  CCHR has now filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the remaining U.S. states for the purpose of obtaining statistics on how many children and others are receiving ECT.

These FOIA requests revealed that in one state alone, Utah, electroshock was administered 50 times to children and adolescents up to the age of 17 in recent years—including 15 times to those five years old or younger and that Tricare military insurance reported seven children aged 0 to 17 were given ECT in 2016.

“We have found that visitors to our headquarters in downtown Clearwater are under the assumption that ECT is no longer used or even banned,” said Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “This mistaken belief is why our chapter decided to join CCHR International’s petition to ban the ECT device.”

In actuality only four U.S. states—Colorado, California, Tennessee and Texas—have banned the use of ECT in children and adolescents despite the fact that the World Health Organization’s Resource Book on Mental Health, Human Rights and Legislation, recommended in 2005: “There are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, and hence this should be prohibited through legislation.”

The Florida chapter of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog co-founded by the Church of Scientology in 1969, joined CCHR International in formally requested that Dr. Stephen Ostroff, M.D., Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  ban the electroshock device. According to the FDA, ECT may cause: prolonged or delayed onset seizures, cardiovascular complications (including heart attacks), breathing complications, confusion, permanent memory loss, brain damage and death. CCHR noted in its request that despite the dangers an estimated 100,000 Americans receive electroshock annually including children, the elderly and pregnant women.

Browse Our Archives