Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
Humanist, humorist

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Suicide Expert Embroilled in Twitter Controversy

Louis Appleby, (above) the UK's leading expert on suicidology, has sparked controversy on Twitter after seemingly joining forces with former UKIP press secretary, Jasna Badzak.

Appleby, who has been repeatedly asked by drug safety advocates on both Twitter and via email to investigate iatrogenic deaths, (suicides) recently retweeted Jasna Badzak's claim that drug safety advocates enquiring about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are nothing more than, "a dangerous cult".

Badzak's tweet featured screenshots from just four patient safety advocates, myself included. This prompted Appleby to block anyone who wanted to ask him about akathisia and/or iatrogenic deaths caused by antidepressants.

Remarkably, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn, then retweeted Appleby. If anything, this highlights how both Appleby and Burn are not adept in research skills. Worrisome, given their positions and influence in the mental health field.

Despite many people pointing out to Appleby that Badzak allegedly has a less than savoury history when it comes to her online activities, Appleby's and Burn's tweets remain. (Badzak back-stories at the end of this post)

Let's just dissect what Appleby wrote. He claims that the behaviour of people asking questions about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are actually causing distress to bereaved families. I find this odd given that all the questions have been aimed at Appleby. Is Appleby using the excuse of bereaved families to not answer specific questions about antidepressant-induced deaths and/or akathisia?

Earlier this month I emailed both Appleby and Wendy Burn and asked them if SSRI's can cause self-harm fatalities. Neither of them answered. I repeatedly asked them both on Twitter, they both evaded the question.

This is a matter of informed consent and as a patient, they are violating my human rights by not answering me. Other patients and former patients have also asked them the same question via Twitter. Again, they have failed to answer.

As I mentioned, Appleby shared with his 19,000+ followers a tweet that made assertions that people who ask questions that are, seemingly, difficult for him to answer are "a dangerous cult".

The four people Badzak highlighted were myself, Fiona French, Dee Doherty, and Wren Cage.

Personally, it's water off a duck's back to a seasoned blogger like me. I have been writing and researching about the dangers of antidepressants for over 13 years during which time I've been targeted by my very own cyberbully. But Fiona, Dee, and Wren are patients who have been seriously harmed by prescription drugs. Questioning a suicide prevention 'expert' about the iatrogenic/akathisia link shouldn't be treated in this manner particularly when Appleby knows very little about their backgrounds.

Questions should now be asked whether he should be employed by the UK government as a suicidologist given cyberbullying, of which he is retweeting, can, by his own admission lead to suicide, at least, he claims, in teenagers. French, Doherty and Cage aren't teenagers but they are three women who have suffered at the hands of psychiatric medication and through tenacity seek answers so they can protect patients from future harms.

Fiona French, 65, Aberdeen, who it appears has been the target of attacks from Badzak, told me, "I was horrified and dismayed when I saw Prof Appleby’s retweet. First, he has stated that he blocks people because of their behaviour.  I am blocked and have only asked him pertinent questions about SSRIs and suicide. Second, he had retweeted Jasna Badzak who has been harassing and insulting myself and other campaigners, making false accusations and generally being abusive. "

On Badzak, Fiona told me, "I first encountered Jasna in a thread on 8th September.  Dr David Gorski was criticising an article written by David Lazarus about his own experience of antidepressant withdrawal.  Jasna made a comment about chemical imbalances and I said there was no scientific evidence for chemical imbalances. Caroline Ost entered the thread and we spoke about withdrawal.  Jasna then accused me of harming people." (see below)

Click image to enlarge

It comes to something when a pensioner cannot voice her opinion online without being verbally attacked by a former UKIP Press Secretary. Fiona has collected many more images from Badzaks timeline. Fiona was prescribed Nitrazepam for 40 years for myoclonic jerks and many different antidepressants for depression over 35 years, latterly Effexor for 15 years.  Tapered off Nitrazepam in 2013, on medical advice. She tapered off Effexor in 2015. The shock of withdrawal rendered her largely bedridden for 4-5 years.

Dee Doherty, 43, Wexford, who was also targeted by Badzak and subsequently retweeted by Appleby, was prescribed Seroxat at the age of 21. Whilst, years later, trying desperately hard to try and taper from Seroxat she lost her job. She was then prescribed Effexor and a whole host of other drugs during the next 20 years. Her symptoms of akathisia have never been acknowledged by any mental health professional. Dee, upon seeing Appleby's retweet from Badzak felt compelled to send him an email, she also included the UK's Human Rights Ombudsman. Her email to Appleby can be seen here. To date, he has not responded.

Wren Cage, 57, from the United States, has made four suicide attempts whilst trying to taper from psychiatric medication. On Appleby's retweet, she told me, "I don’t think his retweeting it was as much as agreeing with her, as it was an “F you” to all of us and the work we do to advocate for informed consent and against prescribed harm."

Who is Jasna Badzak?

In 2013, Badzak (above) was convicted of forgery and fraud. Judge Michael Gledhill QC told her she would have been jailed for a year had she not been the sole carer for her 15-year-old son, who is studying for his GCSEs.

Instead, he suspended her 12-month prison sentence for two years.

Passing sentence, Judge Gledhill told her: "In November 2011 you were taken on by Gerard Batten on a three-month contract and you were to be paid by the European Parliament.

"You knew there would be a delay in payments and you were not to be paid until January.

"In fact, the European Parliament paid people earlier than expected, in December.

"You doctored your online bank statement with your NatWest account by removing the £2,500 payment so someone looking at the statement would think it had not been paid. That was flagrant dishonesty."

It's my understanding that Badzak appealed the sentence.

In November 2014, she was sent a cease-and-desist notice by the Metropolitan Police, alleging that she had harassed another former party worker "by providing information to reporter Glen Owen [of The Mail on Sunday] of a false nature"

In 2016, Jason Lee, a researcher, human rights campaigner, and writer alleged that he too had come under harassment from Badzak. He writes:

"Just recently, one such woman, by the name of Jasna Badzak, despite having a police warning against her, and having been served with a cease and desist notice, not to abuse or harass me, decided to have another go at me. Yes, she has done this before, hence the police warning and cease and desist notice."

Way to go, Appleby! The UK's suicide expert aligning himself with someone who, allegedly, has a history of online abuse and making false claims. There was me thinking Appleby's job was to keep the suicide figures down. I wonder if he knows that targets of bullying and cyberbullying are at a greater risk than others of both self-harm and suicidal behaviours?

If Appleby wants to discredit me and others in the prescribed harm community he should do so with some facts. Maybe he could release the figures for suicides by iatrogenic deaths and also show evidence that akathisia cannot lead to a person ending their suffering via death by 'suicide'. Going down the route of retweeting a disgraced former UKIP secretary who makes claims that those harmed by prescribed medicines are "a dangerous cult" is both morally and ethically wrong, moreover, in my opinion, I believe it's an abhorrent attempt to stifle voices.

Being stalked or cyberbullied is an unpleasant experience. As I mentioned earlier, I should know, as I was the victim of an online-abuser some years ago. This only ended when the abuser eventually gave up after a four-year campaign of harassment, targeting me and the parents of the dead children I wrote about. The abuser died recently but his 'handy-work' still remains on blogs and forums, albeit under pseudonyms, such was the cowardice of the man.

Appleby should remove the offending tweet and apologise to those involved and also apologise to his 19,000+ followers for getting it inordinately wrong. Either that or he should resign from his position. He should also explain to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, of which he is the chair, why he chose to align himself with Jasna Badzak. The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn, who, seemingly, supports Appleby's allegiance with Badzak, should also apologise and/or resign from her position.

Appleby's and Burn's support of Badzak's "dangerous cult" quote came days after International Akathisia Awareness Day was announced

Make of that what you will.

Bob Fiddaman

No comments:

Please contact me if you would like a guest post considered for publication on my blog.