Clare’s Story

Clare was in her early 50’s and had no prior contact with Mental Health Services. She was completely shocked when police and mental health services staff visited her house to take her into hospital for assessment against her will.

The neighbours had complained she was acting strangely.

During her stay in hospital, Clare tried to tell the clinicians that she held a patent for an invention she was working on. Her treating team thought she was being delusional. They wrote a report indicating Clare had a mental illness requiring treatment. The report also outlined that the least restrictive form of treatment was hospitalisation. The team who examined and treated Clare were unable to make a specific diagnosis but thought the so-called ‘delusions’ pointed to some kind of schizoid illness.

On the day of the hearing, Clare came with a family member and brought some of the documents relating to her patent. The Mental Health Law Centre demonstrated to the Mental Health Tribunal that Clare was a genuine inventor and that the patent did in fact exist.

The Tribunal was not persuaded Clare had a mental illness requiring treatment and made the decision to change her status to ‘voluntary’, giving her the choice whether to continue treatment.

Clare and her family member were very happy and appreciative of the assistance from the Mental Health Law Centre in helping set the matter straight.

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