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Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

[TRIGGER WARNING for forced detention following diagnosis of mental illness.]

Imagine a world in which you could be held by a government agency, against your will, for up to a month.

If you have a mental illness, that is now a real possibility.

Deborah Snow has reported on changes for the SMH – that’s actually how I heard about this – and has some interviews with various people. In summary: the doctors who are quoted are universally opposed to the changes. There’s only one person in the article who supports the changes:

The head of the tribunal, Greg James, a former judge, rejects the criticisms. He said patients retain a right under the Mental Health Act to call in the tribunal at any time to examine their case.

He argues the changes will avoid the many adjournments which occur now, where doctors tell magistrates they are not ready to seek a formal ruling.

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There is a homeless guy who sits outside my building every morning. He says g’day to the people he recognises. I always say good morning. I’ve noticed other people sometimes stop to chat at length. He begs. Lately, he’s been getting a bit more insistent on the begging front. I hope he’s doing ok.

This morning, after walking into the building, I got into the lift with an older man who I’ve seen quite a number of times around the building, but who I don’t actually know.

He turned to me, his eyes wide with horror and disgust. “Did you know that man out the front is a drug addict? He doesn’t have schizophrenia or anything … he injects drugs, methadone or something … I’ve just been to the pharmacist and they told me!”

Now, leaving aside the patient confidentiality issues with the pharmacist giving out that kind of information (and I am going to go and have a yell at the pharmacist later about that!), (1) methadone is not injected [ETA: well, I got that wrong – see Robbo’s comment below] (and if he’s on methadone, he doesn’t need money for it and also, it suggests he’s “doing something” about his “problem”, which is what I assume people like my interlocutor want to happen); and (2) poor mental health, homelessness and drug use often go hand in hand. Oh, and (3) who the fuck are we to judge?

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