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Mum calls for talks on 'shock' therapy.

Byline: Sarah Walker Reporter

A FORMER patient at a Middlesbrough mental hospital is calling for talks on the use of controversial Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT).

Jacqueline Dunn, 47, says she was treated using "electric shock treatment" - in which an electric current is passed through the brain to induce an epileptic fit - at St Luke's hospital, now Roseberry Park, in 1985.

The mum-of-two received the treatment as a 17-year-old suffering severe depression, delusions and psychosis. And she claims the treatment has left her suffering lasting memory problems and frequent headaches.

ECT is still recognised as being helpful to some patients by Tees Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) mental health and learning disability trust, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), who issue strict guidelines on its use, and mental health charity MIND.

Jacqueline, a mum to seven-year-old Lee and 23-year-old Angelica, said: "I had about four treatments of ECT. I didn't even know what it was and my family didn't know what it was.

"I had been going to the doctors from the age of about 13 suffering from depression and stress.

"Then, when I was 17, I went into hospital as a voluntary patient."

Prior to this, Jacqueline says she went to the private Great Ayton Friends' School, had "a good education" and had everything going for her. But at 17, her mental health problems escalated.

She said: "I remember seeing my doctor and saying I was under a lot of stress. I didn't know what I was doing and I was really ill. I thought I was Jesus - I really believed it - and became very religious."

Jacqueline, formerly of Ormesby, Middlesbrough, says she was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia and now understands this was her first experience of psychosis.

Her diagnosis later changed to bipolar disorder - which can result in episodes of psychosis and delusional thinking - when she was seen by a different mental health trust after moving to London.

She has recently contacted Tees Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust's Patient and Advice Liaison Service (PALS) to gain access to her 30-year-old medical records - and says the trust is co-operating with her request. Jacqueline, who now lives in Sutton, Surrey, and has been a staunch campaigner against the use of ECT in under-18s, says her MP, Conservative Paul Scully, is helping her investigate her concerns.

The campaigner, who says she has not had an episode of psychosis since 2002 - thanks in part to supportive partner Mick - said: "I think there needs to be a serious debate on the use of ECT. I've had about seven episodes of psychosis, and when my daughter was growing up I was in hospital nearly every year.

"ECT hasn't stopped my psychosis, I think it's just made things worse really.

"I've spoken to MIND about it and they say it does help some people.

"But it really hasn't helped me."

A spokeswoman for TEWV said: "We will always work with people to help them understand their treatment history and resolve any complaints they have.

"ECT is a NICEapproved treatment to be used under specific circumstances and can have benefit for certain patients.

"We follow NICE clinical guidance on the use of ECT, including the use for young people."


Former St Luke's patient Jacqueline Dunn, pictured with son Lee, is calling for a debate on the use of controversial |ECT treatment for mental illness
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 7, 2015
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