CCHR’s 50th Anniversary Gala
Producer/director Kevin Miller accepts CCHR’s Human Rights Award
Texas attorney Andy Vickery accepts CCHR’s Human Rights Award
CCHR works with Chilean legislator Cristina Girardi (right, top and bottom) to reach parents, educators, fellow lawmakers and the media with the facts—efforts resulting in a law passed to protect children from being forced to take psychiatric drugs as a requirement to be able to attend school.
Two crusaders for child and parental rights work tirelessly to change Chilean law and protect children from forced psychiatric treatment as a prerequisite to attend school.

In 2005, Chile implemented the largest nationwide school screening program on the planet, with more than a million children screened from 2005 to 2015. Many of those children so screened were then prescribed psychotropic drugs. Not surprisingly, the country ranks as having the highest rates of child suicide for 15- to 19-year-olds in Latin America and ranking fifth highest internationally.

Hilda Zuñiga, an aide to Chilean legislator Cristina Girardi, knew something was awry when, in doing community work, she encountered upset parents whose children had been taken to psychiatrists without their agreement. She and Girardi took further notice as they found case after case of parents threatened with their child being blocked from school if they did not take psychotropic drugs.

Things became personal when Zuñiga’s own son was labeled autistic and prescribed Ritalin. She began to research the medications and came across Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). She soon got her son off the drugs and found alternative solutions for him.

But it wasn’t enough just to help her son. She began reaching out to the community to enlighten others. Zuñiga and Girardi held seminars for parents and teachers in the capital, Santiago de Chile. However, when the now enlightened parents refused to drug their children, they were threatened with their child being kicked out of school. So began a mission to change Chile’s education laws. The two women gathered documentation on the facts of psychiatric drugs and their effects on children and briefed other Chilean legislators, as well as the public. As part of a parliamentary working group, they proposed amendments to the education law in 2016. However, it took enlightenment, seminars, media and meetings to break through the cloud of misinformation. Ultimately Zuñiga and Girardi reached over 2.1 million through more than 180 seminars and media interviews on national TV with CNN Chile, CHV Noticias and Channel 13. Finally, the first amendment for public schools passed unanimously in 2018, followed by amendments for private schools in 2019. Now taking psych drugs cannot be required for a child to attend school. Thanks to Zuñiga and Girardi, Chilean parents can now choose the course of their child’s health care.

While ECT might appear less brutal today (in photo) than in the ’60s film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the damage is the same today—or worse—due to muscle relaxants being used.

Join Our Crusade to Stop ECT

Join CCHR in stopping the barbaric practice of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)—also called electroshock treatment—across the world. Adding to the necessity to make our voices heard, the American Psychiatric Association recommends that ECT be used on children and teens that are “unresponsive” to psychiatric drugs. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the electroshocking of teens from age 13 for at least three “disorders,” despite no clinical trials from the ECT device manufacturer proving safety and efficacy.

Electroshock treatment is an archaic treatment invented in the 1930s that sends jolts of electricity into the brain, inducing a grand mal seizure. It’s associated with numerous side effects, including short- and long-term memory loss, cognitive problems, manic symptoms, prolonged seizures, heart problems, brain damage and even death.

CCHR is on a crusade to stop the use of ECT the world over. Learn more and sign our petition at


As a nonprofit mental health watchdog, CCHR relies on memberships and donations to carry out its mission to eradicate psychiatric violations of human rights and clean up the field of mental health. To become part of the world’s largest movement for mental health change, join the group that has helped enact more than 180 laws protecting citizens from abusive psychiatric practices.