Andrew Bretherton

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Andrew Bretherton is a passionate human rights advocate and unionist. Andrew became an advocate for people with ME when he himself was diagnosed in 2015. Andrew campaigns for better conditions and to stop the abuse of people living with ME. He has spoken for various ME organisations in Australia and in the UK including Millions Missing, Emerge Australia, and ME Australia.[1]

Andrew is currently leading the Australian Call for Change for ME patients petition[2] and plans to submit to the Australian Disability Royal Commission and Australian Parliament to investigate the violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation currently occurring in the ME and CFS community due to outdated guidelines, policies and research.

Illness[edit | edit source]

Andrew was studying a B.A. of Psychology and Sport Science, working professionally and heavily involved in his local community when he caught Epstein-Barr virus (glandular fever) and shingles, and was struck down with M.E. He attended a well known hospital fatigue clinic and Active Health Clinic in Melbourne where he was recommended the therapies GET/CBT and high doses of dexamphetamines.[citation needed] Andrew found this treatment exploitative, abusive and said it reduced his functionality to the point where he was housebound and could no longer work or study.[citation needed] He later attended Dr Donald Lewis clinic CFS discovery where he received proper medical care before it closed in 2019.[citation needed] 

Andrew has described experiencing diagnosis discrimination, and found the process of applying for social supports (housing, national disability insurance scheme, disability support pension) in Australia discriminatory because services excluded people with the “ME or CFS”  label. 

In 2019, his apartment complex flooded and Andrew found himself homeless, and was admitted to hospital where he reported further medical abuse where the hospital tried to “cure” his M.E. with psychiatric treatments (e.g. more GET/CBT and antidepressants

Andrew described his 3 year battle for access to Disability Support Pension (DSP) and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Andrew has said he believes had he had early access to appropriate services then he would be much less impaired then he is now and could have possibly avoided what happened to him.[citation needed]

Advocacy[edit | edit source]

Andrew (second from left) on SBS Insight, 2018

Andrew has publicly called for more biomedical funding and said that having ME was like "A Slow Death”.[3] He regards graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for ME/CFS as "just garbage"[4] and harmful to patients."[5]

In 2017, Andrew gave evidence to the Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia in a private capacity.[1] In 2021, Andrew was acknowledged for his work on migrant worker rights in the book Far From Home by Rosie Ayliffe.[citation needed] Andrew also actively participated on behalf of 88 Days and Counting into the variation of the Horticultural Award 2020.[6]

Positions Held[edit | edit source]

Andrew at a Millions Missing rally outside Melbourne state library, 2019
  • Emerge Australia - Community Engagement Officer - 2017, Video media and live streaming - 2018
  • ME Australia - Social Media Engagement officer - 2018 - onwards
  • Millions Missing - Guest speaker in Melbourne, 2019[7]
  • MEAction network promo - 2018
  • Call for Change UK - Voice Over/ Narrator 
  • Call for Change for ME patients Australia - Organizer - 2021
  • Victorian Greens - people with disabilities working group Co- Convenor 2018 to present 
  • 88 days and counting - Organiser 2016 to present 
  • Tom and Mia's Legacy - Organiser and Spokesperson, 2016 to present   
  • Migrant workers centre - Volunteer

Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

Other Advocacy work[edit | edit source]

Online presence[edit | edit source]

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Website/Blog
  • YouTube

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.01.1 Commonwealth Parliament. "Public hearings | Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  2. Bretherton, Andrew (2021). "Call for Change for M.E. Patients in Australia | Submission to the Australian Parliament and the Disability Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect, Abuse and Exploitation on behalf of the local and international ME and CFS community". Change.org. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  3. Medhora, Shalailah (October 13, 2017). "'A slow death': what it's like living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Triple J". ABC Australia. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  4. "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Insight". SBS. October 15, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  5. ME Australia. October 15, 2018 https://meaustralia.net/2018/10/15/insight-on-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-andrews-experience/. Text "Insight on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Andrew's experience" ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. https://www.fwc.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards/award-modernisation/variation-applications/AM2020/104
  7. Bretherton, Andrew (May 16, 2019). "Millions Missing: Melbourne". ME Australia. Retrieved October 25, 2021.

myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

graded exercise therapy (GET) - A gradual increase in exercise or activity, according to a pre-defined plan. Focuses on overcoming the patient's alleged unhelpful illness beliefs that exertion can exacerbate symptoms, rather than on reversing physical deconditioning. Considered controversial, and possibly harmful, in the treatment or management of ME. One of the treatment arms of the controversial PACE trial.

cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - A type of psychotherapy geared toward modifying alleged unhealthy thinking, behaviors or illness beliefs. One of the treatment arms used in the controversial PACE trial.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.