ECT has been abolished in the Republic of Slovenia

Wayne Smyth
West Australia desk

In the heart of Europe, nestled between Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary, ECT is forbidden in Slovenia, which serves as a cradle of sanity on this topic.

The only caveat, per Igor Spreizer co-chair of 'ALTRA, Committee for Innovation in Mental Health' Ljubljana, Slovenia, is that a small number of patients are referred outside of Slovenia to Zagreb, Croatia where the procedure is still used. Slovenian authorities claim only 3-12 patients are referred each year. This, nonetheless, does make Slovenia, effectively, an ECT Free Zone.

ALTRA (loosely from the word alternative) has been active and effective in advocacy and patient rights. This is not without attention from official psychiatry, which ALTRA has fought with many times. While ALTRA, which employs 23 staff, does not claim responsibility for the Slovenian experience, ALTRA is unquestionably a major influence in holding this position.

Verification of the Slovenian experience comes from Marinka Kapelj the representative of Slovenia, board member of the European Network of ex Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP). ALTRA is hosting this years ENUSP conference in Slovenia, in November. Details at

Most of ALTRA's resources come from the State and lotteries commission. Around 300 people support and use ALTRA services.

Slovenia is a strong toehold, indeed a full foot on the ground for the anti shock movement. It might be that your currency goes a long way in terms of Slovenia. Attend the conference, tells your friends. Support ALTRA.

ALTRA can be reached at:
Miklosiceva ul. l4
1000 Ljubljana
tel.:++386 1 434 73 18