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Mental Health

Alternatives to Medication

Different things work for different people. Below is a range of comprehensive alternative treatments that Justice Action strongly believes can be more effective than forced medication for people with mental health issues. 

ACUPUNCTURE

To balance the body’s energy system. Depression in Chinese medicine implies suicidal tendency and liver issue. Acupuncture would help these problems. There is one acupuncture point Pericardium 6 which when needled can change a person’s mental state from negative to positive.

AFFIRMATIONS

To say over and over lovely positive self-talk compliments, e.g. “I am special too”, “The universe loves me”, and “I am wonderful”.

AROMATHERAPY

There are a number of essential oils that help with balancing the body’s energies; mind; emotions and spirit.

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Creating builds confidence. Having a hobby of making things can instil a sense of pride, self-worth and accomplishment.

AUSTRALIAN BUSH FLOWER and BACH FLOWER ESSENCES

A subtle, simple and powerful way to shift old energy patterns and transforms mental/emotional/physical states in need of transformation, with no negative side effects. This method is also very inexpensive.

BOOKS

Reading books is great way to pass the time and keep your brain trained. Self-help books can offer ways to improve your thinking and attitude. Fiction books can offer a temporary escape from your problems. Reading other texts like poetry, philosophy and plays can also be very mentally and intellectually stimulating.

CENTRES

Hearing Voices groups, and Living Skills groups. Having regular social interaction in the form of centre or a group can be great mental support.

CLUBS

Laughter Club; “Laughter is the best medicine.” Toastmasters Club: express self. Such clubs can help build confidence and give you a place to meet and connect with others in a comfortable setting.

DEVELOPING FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (DFR)

For those whose mental illness or mental disorder arises from stresses associated with money; money mismanagement disorder, financial incontinence disorder, lack of money disorder, budgeting difficulty disorder, overspending disorder, gambling disorder, lack of financial discipline disorder, no financial system disorder and associated money disorders eventually manifesting as full blown mental illness, dysfunctionality, depression, schizhophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. Treatment should assist you so that within two years, you should be saving 20% - 70% of everything you earn.

EXERCISE

There are many types of exercise which may be helpful, in particular walking groups, yoga, pilates, swimming, dancing. Exercise induces the release of endorphins, serotonin and helps maintain general good health.

GARDENING

Taking care of a plant or a garden and watching it slowly grow and bloom can build a sense of individual responsibility and achievement. Some options are Community Gardens, pot plants, vases of flowers, and Parks Gardening groups.

GIFT GIVING

Channelling good can often help you feel good about yourself! Bringing joy to others can give you a sense of friendship or worth.

HANDIWORK

Knitting or crotcheting, such as making “Wrap with Love blankets” for charity, keeps your hands and mind occupied and focuses you on a productivity activity.

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS

Achievements bing contentment. Committing to something you enjoy, such as music, writing, reading, watching movies or playing sports, makes you happy and gives you something to look forward to.

HOME REMEDIES

Home remedies and therapies such as herbs, chamomile tea, aloe vera can have a calming or soothing effect. They are good for relaxation and have great health benefits as well.

HYPNOSIS MEDITATION CD

Reprograms the subconscious mind with positive affirmations to help create positive changes in a person’s life.

LAUGHTER THERAPY

Laughter Therapy (also called Humour Therapy) is founded on the benefits of laughter, which include reducing depression and anxiety, boosting immunity, and promoting a positive mood. The therapy uses humour to promote health and wellness and relieve physical and emotional stress or pain, and it’s been used by doctors since the thirteenth century to help patients cope with pain.

LIGHT THERAPY

Most commonly known for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), light therapy started gaining popularity in the 1980s. The therapy consists of controlled exposure to intense levels of light (typically emitted by fluorescent bulbs situated behind a diffusing screen). Provided they remain in areas illuminated by the light, patients can go about their normal business during a treatment session. So far, studies have found that bright light therapy might be useful in treating depression, eating disorders, bipolar depression, and sleep disorders.

LISTING AND DECLUTTERING

Having over-cluttered living space or a lack of focus or goals can worsen one’s mood and contribute to one’s mental illness. Making and completing lists create a sense of responsibility and achievement. Cleaning the house, doing the dishes, decluttering one’s living space and making small daily accomplishments can improve one’s mood and give a sense of organisation and discipline.

MASSAGE THERAPY

Massage therapy can help ease feelings of stress, tension or anxiety. It also benefits your skin, muscles and blood circulation, and alleviates arthritis.

MEDITATION

Meditation reduces stress and improves concentration. Practising meditation on a regular basis increases self-awareness, happiness and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Taking time for Prayer and Bible reading may also be of great benefit to certain people.

MINDFULNESS

Stay in the present moment. Focus yourself on the now. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings in a given moment without judging them as right or wrong, or as reasonable or unreasonable.

MUSIC AND SINGING

Music and singing gives happiness and enjoyment. Singing can lower stress levels and decrease the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in your bloodstream. It also promotes mental alertness by improving blood circulation and allowing more oxygen to reach the brain. Making music in any form is relaxing. Listening to music also lowers stress and elevates your mood, relieving anxiety and even reducing depressive symptoms.

MUSIC THERAPY

There are loads of health benefits to music, including lowered stress and increased pain thresholds, so it’s hardly surprising that there’s a therapy that involves making (and listening to) sweet, sweet tunes. In a music therapy session, credentialed therapists use music interventions (listening to music, making music, writing lyrics) to help clients access their creativity and emotions and to target client’s individualized goals, which often revolve around managing stress, alleviating pain, expressing emotions, improving memory and communication, and promoting overall mental and physical wellness. Studies generally support the therapy’s efficacy in reducing pain and anxiety.

NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING

Has a wonderful technique where you take someone back to an initial trauma and then take them to a time and place they were very happy and then replaces the initial trauma with the positive other experience.

ORGASMIC MEDITATION / ORGASM THERAPY / SEX THERAPY

For women, whose mental illness or mental disorder arises due to pent up stress, inhibition, repression, false religion etc., orgasmic meditation and orgasm therapy provides, by way of the 15 minute orgasm, a natural no side effect release and source of empowerment when properly done on her own or with skilled partners or practitioners or by way of an orgasmic meditation machine or device within the context of proper orgasmic doctrine, philosophy and support with repetition and follow through.

PETS

There are health benefits to having a pet. Pets help to lower blood pressure and decrease anxiety, whilst boosting our immunity. There are many physical, mental and emotional improvements to caring for an animal companion.

POLARITY BALANCING

Similar to remedial massage, but a different technique that achieves the same result in balancing the flow of life energy within the human body.

PRIMAL THERAPY

It gained traction after the book The Primal Scream was published back in 1970, but Primal Therapy consists of more than yelling into the wind. Its main founder, Arthur Janov, believed that mental illness can be eradicated by “re-experiencing” and expressing childhood pains (a serious illness as an infant, feeling unloved by one’s parents). Methods involved include screaming, weeping, or whatever else is needed to fully vent the hurt. According to Janov, repressing painful memories stresses out our psyches, potentially causing neurosis and/or physical illnesses including ulcers, sexual dysfunction, hypertension, and asthma. Primal Therapy seeks to help patients reconnect with the repressed feelings at the root of their issues, express them, and let them go, so these conditions can resolve. Though it has its followers, the therapy has been criticized for teaching patients to express feelings without providing the tools necessary to fully process those emotions and instil lasting change.

RELATIONSHIP AGREEMENT OR TREATMENT

For those whose mental illness or mental disorder arises out of their primary relationship with their partner (or others) where durations and terms have not been defined or committed to in writing. Treatment includes the supervised setting of durations and renewal dates for the relationship, bond posting and defining of all terms for each partner so that the relationship will no longer be a cause of mental illness, distress or disorder. Guaranteed to terminate mentally unhealthy relationships and give more structure to those lacking written structure and definition. A perfect way to start a new relationship with purpose, direction, security and clarity where all is agreed and love is free to flow.

RELAXATION

Calming, soothing, relaxing. Everybody needs time to recharge and process the day. Not having enough time to relax can worsen feelings of stress and tension.

RELIGION

It is often observed that having a religious belief can give you a positive state of mind, and something to focus on while you face problems in life.

REMEDIAL MASSAGE

Past stress and/trauma gets locked in the cellular tissues. Massage helps to release from the body and people feel relaxed and lighter in the body and mind.

SLEEP AND RESTING

Sleep and resting is a vital pause and interval in the midst of our busy lives. Many of our problems, such as negativity, worry, bad moods and emotional instability, can be traced back to a bad night’s sleep. Making sure you get the right amount of sleep every night can give you much more energy and let you face the day’s challenges with a better, clearer attitude.

SOCIALISING

It is undeniable that human company is reaffirming. Friends are great for balance and fun, and everyone always needs to have a person to chat with. A support network is vital for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

THETA HEALING

Also takes a person back to the original trauma that keeps getting replayed and reprograms the person with positive commands to the subconscious so that a new life experience may be experienced.

VITAMIN AND MINERAL THERAPY

Research shows that long-term use of medication depletes valuable nutrients in our bodies, which often has an impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Supplements may be used to replenish these nutrients. Some vitamins and minerals may need to be added for a time to make up for any big imbalances.

VOLUNTEERING

Helping others can gladden the heart. It gives you a sense of purpose and fulfilment and increases your self-confidence, whilst decreasing your risk of depression. It can also help you find work and social opportunities. 

WHOLESOME FOODS

Sometimes not eating a balanced diet – too much processed food/junk food/sugar, or food intolerances or allergies (particularly to wheat and dairy) can affect people’s mental state. It can easily be fixed by vitamin/mineral supplements or removing the offending foods from the diet.  Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables can improve your health dramatically.

WILDERNESS THERAPY

Wilderness therapists take clients into the great outdoors to participate in outdoor adventure pursuits and other activities like survival skills and self-reflection. The aim is to promote personal growth and enable clients to improve their interpersonal relationships. The health benefits of getting outside are pretty well substantiated: Studies have found that time in nature can lower anxiety, boost mood, and improve self-esteem.

YOGA

For gentle stretching and maintaining subtlety in the body and also has the power to fight stress and improve moods. Mindfulness-based yoga lowers stress and anxiety and helps with bi-polar disorder and depression.

References

Croft, Harry, ‘Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Treatment’ (2016) Healthy Place.

Cooke, B., & Ernst, E (2000) Aromatherapy: a systematic review. The British Journal of General Practise, 50 (455): 493-496.  

Mind For Better Mental Health, Complementary and Alternative Therapy (November 2016) <https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/complementary-and-alternative-therapy/different-therapies/#.WYqnoWR96M4>

Murphy, Gregory, ‘Various preferred section 68 part (e) treatment alternatives.’

Newcomer, Lauren, 8 Alternative Mental Health Therapies Explained (December 4, 2012) <http://greatist.com/happiness/alternative-mental-health-therapies-heal-mind >

SANE Australia, Complementary Therapies (3 August 2017) <https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/complementary-therapies>

Wheeler, Regina Boyle, ‘Alternative Treatments for Mental Health’ (2009) Everyday Health.

Drug Law Reform

Australian drug use laws are fairly standard compared to other developed countries: Australia takes a relatively strict approach, punishing those who use and possess illegal drugs. The Australian government has considered and implemented some preventative measures to reduce drug rates. However, punitive measures have continued to be the country’s primary response to illicit substance use. This reliance has failed to reduce Australia’s high overdose rate or to address the impact drug criminalisation has had on the Australian prison system. A consideration of successful drug reform models from around the world is required in order to reduce the effects and rates of substance abuse in Australia.

Drugs

LATEST NEWS
Global Expert Calls for Drug Decriminalisation in Australia 8 June 2018

The use and abuse of alcohol and drugs in New South Wales is an endemic problem which is increasing the rate of recidivism in this state. In NSW, using and possessing drugs is a criminal offence carrying a gaol sentence. Approximately half of NSW prisoners attribute their current sentences to alcohol and/or drugs.1 

Drug use is a significant contributing factor to women’s imprisonment in Australia. More women than men reported previous or current injecting drug use, with 56% compared to 42% respectively.2  Offenders who complete a drug diversion program are less likely to reoffend. 

It is imperative that the NSW Government consider seriously how their drug law policies are punishing the less fortunate and creating a downward spiral of recidivism. Decriminalisation is a viable option. After the Portugal model, this would involve the decriminationalisation of the use and possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use.

 
MAJOR ISSUES
Drug Law Reform
Women’s Imprisonment
Key case: Tracy Brannigan

[1] Antonette Gaffney and Jason Payne, ‘How much crime is drug or alcohol related? Self-reported attributions of police detainees’ (Report No. 439, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2012) 1.

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘The Health of Australia’s Prisoners 2012’ (2013) 78.

FALSE STIGMA OF VIOLENCE

* The majority of violent crimes and homicides are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. In fact, 95 per cent of homicides are committed by people who have not been diagnosed with a mental health problem.[10]

* Contrary to popular belief, the incidence of homicide committed by people diagnosed with mental health problems has stayed at a fairly constant level since the 1990s. [11]

* The fear of random unprovoked attacks on strangers by people with mental health problems is unjustified. This has been highlighted by a US finding that patients with psychosis who are living in the community are 14 times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to be arrested for such a crime. [12]

* According to the British Crime Survey, almost half (47 per cent) of the victims of violent crimes believed that their offender was under the influence of alcohol and about 17 per cent believed that the offender was under the influence of drugs. [13] Another survey suggested that about 30 per cent of victims believed that the offender attacked them because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In contrast, only one per cent of victims believed that the violent incident happened because the offender had a mental illness. [14]

* People with mental health problems are more dangerous to themselves than they are to others: 90 per cent of people who die through suicide in the UK are experiencing mental distress. [15]

* People with serious mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator. One study found that more than one in four people with a severe mental illness had been a victim of crime in one year. [16]

[10] Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry, 2006, Risk of violence to other people,

[11] National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness – Annual report: England and Wales 2009

[12] Walsh E et al. 2003, 'Prevalence of violent victimisation in severe mental illness', British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 183, pp. 233–238.

[13] Home Office, 2009, Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Vol. 1, Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime, Statistical Bulletin, 11/09, vol. 1.

[14] Coleman K, Hird C, Povey D. 2006, 'Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/2005', Home Office Statistical Bulletin,

[15] Hall D et al. 1998, 'Thirteen-year follow-up of deliberate self-harm, using linked data', British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 172: pp. 239–242.

[16] Teplin L, McClelland M, Abram K, Weiner D, 2005, 'Crime victimization in adults with severe mental illness', Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 62, pp. 911–921.

Identity Rights

Overview:

The right to a name is basic to being human, being of worth and having a place in society. Without a name you have no unique reference point for others to relate to. However in the mental health area this right is conditional on the permission of the Health authorities, as an expression of their concern for the reputation of the consumer. In practice it only protects the Health authorities from criticism with secrecy and no media examination of Tribunal hearings.  This is a touchpoint showing the lack of respect in mental health. Justice Action took this issue to the Supreme Court for Saeed Dezfouli, and finally won in a Tribunal hearing involving ABC lawyers.

Here is the original submission in his case, with an examination of the laws.

We have had to remove some of the details here under the threats of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal, but will supply more on request.


Justice Action Publications:

 

Mad in Australia: This publication exposes the history of abuse of mental health patients in historical and cultural context. It identifies how the culture of doctors forcing medication on mental health patients began, in breach of their ethical obligations, and against the evidence of its effectiveness. It also offers solutions.

The Our Pick Report
: This report written by Justice Action concerning the state of mental health in Australia. Justice Action decided to focus on the mental health area after it had become apparent that a new strategy was required to defend community interest and prisoners' rights against the law and the added effects of tension, boredom, powerlessness and isolation occuring in imprisonment. Many prisoners become forensic patients or remain in prison under medication: the rates of major mental illness in prisons have been found to be three times higher tha that of the general population. This report confront the abuse of 'care' in mental health and prisons.

Mental illness policy issues: There are serious failings in the way that public policy addresses mental illness in our society. The most serious failings as well as other inherent issues within mental health have been identified that is broadly reflected in Mental Illness Policy Issues. The single greatest cause of distress and difficulty; to the greatest proportion of those living with mental illness, is the way our society responds to them.

Letter by Saeed to Justice Action (08/09/2010)

Campaign Documents

Challenge to Tribunal's Ban on Saeed's Name


Media Releases:


Court hearing for patient's right to his name

 

 


Introduction

Justice Action's particular concerns are with the use of prisons to solve mental health problems.  There is an urgent need to create community based care, with the support of families and people with experience, instead of locking away the problems, medicating individuals at the cost of $205,000 a person a year.  The stigma that surrounds mental health has to be reduced so people who have mental illness in our community can be effectively treated.  It is the position of Justice Action and our allies that putting these disadvantaged individuals in prison is not the answer.

The Burdekin inquiry into mental health in 1994 concluded that mental health has been criminalised in Australia. The prison system has become the inappropriate de facto treatment centre for many mentally ill people. A 1997 investigation into the CHS mental health services recognises that the law must be changed as the present arrangements restrict the opportunity to provide appropriate medical care and rehabilitation to those offenders suffering from mental disorder and any contemplated changes to improve services for mentally disordered offenders may be facilitated by changes in the law to the benefit of society and individuals. (The Blueglass report) That report also notes the appallingly low level of psychiatric staff and occupational therapists.

FIGHT FOR MENTAL HEALTH DOLLARS
Criminalising and causing fear of the mentally ill drives a large industry. Dr Adrian Keller's statement (SMH 13/7/11) scan is typical and exposes the hunger for the mental health dollar irrespective of the interests of mental health in the community. Media Release 15/7/11

FALSE STIGMA OF VIOLENCE
* The majority of violent crimes and homicides are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. In fact, 95 per cent of homicides are committed by people who have not been diagnosed with a mental health problem.[10]

* Contrary to popular belief, the incidence of homicide committed by people diagnosed with mental health problems has stayed at a fairly constant level since the 1990s. [11]

* The fear of random unprovoked attacks on strangers by people with mental health problems is unjustified. This has been highlighted by a US finding that patients with psychosis who are living in the community are 14 times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to be arrested for such a crime. [12]

* According to the British Crime Survey, almost half (47 per cent) of the victims of violent crimes believed that their offender was under the influence of alcohol and about 17 per cent believed that the offender was under the influence of drugs. [13] Another survey suggested that about 30 per cent of victims believed that the offender attacked them because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In contrast, only one per cent of victims believed that the violent incident happened because the offender had a mental illness. [14]

* People with mental health problems are more dangerous to themselves than they are to others: 90 per cent of people who die through suicide in the UK are experiencing mental distress. [15]

* People with serious mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator. One study found that more than one in four people with a severe mental illness had been a victim of crime in one year. [16]

[10] Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry, 2006, Risk of violence to other people,
[11] National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness – Annual report: England and Wales 2009
[12] Walsh E et al. 2003, ‘Prevalence of violent victimisation in severe mental illness’, British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 183, pp. 233–238.
[13] Home Office, 2009, Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Vol. 1, Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime, Statistical Bulletin, 11/09, vol. 1.
[14] Coleman K, Hird C, Povey D. 2006, ‘Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/2005’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin,
[15] Hall D et al. 1998, ‘Thirteen-year follow-up of deliberate self-harm, using linked data’, British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 172: pp. 239–242.
[16] Teplin L, McClelland M, Abram K, Weiner D, 2005, ‘Crime victimization in adults with severe mental illness’, Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 62, pp. 911–921.

Introduction

introductionMental health broadly describes the level of our psychological well-being and inherently provides a basis to an understanding of our own identity, whether it be as a citizen of society or as an individual within a circle of family and friends.

The status of our psychological well-being however is conditional to an infinite range of factors. From basic daily anxiety to the more serious problems of alcohol and drug addiction to suicide, mental health continues to be an issue of concern today more than ever.

The increasing problems and lack of proper awareness of mental health has generated a class of individuals that have had their voices and rights dismissed. This has evoked an active need for the proper and necessary treatment of individuals concerned with mental health problems.

Justice Action decided to focus on the mental health area after it had become apparent that a new strategy was required to defend community interests and prisoners' rights against the law and the added effects of tension, boredom, powerlessness and isolation occurring in imprisonment.

Many prisoners become forensic patients or remain in prison under medication: the rates of major illness in prisons have been found to be three times higher than that of the general population.

In mental health, the focus is on making patients well, without the elements of guilt and punishment, while retaining state control of citizens. Patients (consumers) had been asking for our assistance, and we saw the chance of a forward defence for mental health patients' rights. If we could not defend patients' human rights, what chance did we have with prisoners?

Upon examination we discovered that forensic (incarcerated) mental health consumers receive even less respect for their dignity and humanity. In practice it is definitely better to be bad than mad. Lawyers who have enticed clients with a psychiatric defence are cursed from the dungeons. In both prisons and mental health wards, almost everyone smokes, but it is the forensic consumers who have lost their tobacco.

Prisoners are regarded as normal people who have made mistakes, have to pay a penalty and then return to their former status. Forensic consumers however, are treated like children, unable to take responsibility for decision-making sometimes for the rest of their lives, depending on the psychiatric diagnosis. Total arbitrary control contrary to consumers' wishes is cloaked as euphemisms of expressions of care. The industry's culture creates professionals lacking empathy for patient; stumbling glassy-eyed humans are seen as effective work practice. In the new Long Bay Forensic Hospital, all patients are medicated. Patient resistance is construed as sickness.

The consumer focus in mental health has been hijacked. Stated rights have become valueless in the face of this culture. External service providers dependent on government money are part of the problem. Patients are dehumanized and exploited to yield budgets of over $205,000 per forensic patient per year. Privacy and security mean hiding from examination. Visitors are discouraged and refused. Social support for patients is seen as causing disturbance rather than a community right, a necessary measure and an alternative to medication. A "clinical decision that the patient's mental health might be affected" is enough for a refusal. There are no stated rules.

A long line of reports, including the 1992 'Burdekin' Report, the 2005 Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) (in association with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) 'Not for Service' Report, as well as the Australian Medical Association (Treatment, Not Prison) (AMA) all express the failure in the treatment of mental health and the need for change. However, nothing has changed on the ground despite billions of taxpayers' dollars being spent.

The problem lies in the powerlessness of those for whom the services are provided: identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the key barriers to consumer participation. Authorities have used the stigma of mental illness FALSE STIGMA OF VIOLENCE  and abused the trust of the public purse. They have taken control, redefined the services provided Prisons and mental Illness Link for the sick and bought the silence of those who should protest.

Patients' opinions and contributions to their own wellbeing have been de-legitimised by those whom society has trusted to help them, despite involvement being essential to good health. Further, enforced medication is often used contrary to international standards to fill the gap.

Key Case

Tracy Brannigan is a key case that exemplifies the failure of the current punitive responses to drug offences. In 2009, Tracy was convicted on various drug-related charges and was sentenced to serve a six-year sentence. On 25 February 2013, Tracy died of a drug overdue in her cell while serving her sentence at Dillwynia Correctional Centre. The day before she died, Tracy’s cellmate Lauren Ironside and a visitor Kat Armstrong both stated she was high. If so, Dillwynia Correctional Centre should not have placed Tracy into a high needs’ cell, isolated from her friends and support structure. Rather, she should have been placed into a ‘dry cell’ where she would be cut off from access to drugs and constantly supervised should she need any support. Had the proper services been provided, such as drug rehabilitation, intervention, dry cell and sufficient monitoring, Tracy would likely be alive today.

Tracy's action plan

Mental health prisoners

Mental Health Act/Forensic provisions government review current NSW 3/07

Generally speaking, forensic prisoners exist in a sort of limbo between 'involuntary patient' and 'convicted prisoner' that in practice often results in them getting the worst of both worlds.

Read more

Mental Heath Fact Sheet

Beyond Bars

There are many people in prison in NSW who have some form of mental illness.  This fact sheet examines why people with a mental illness are sent to prison and the problems that arise from the incarceration of those who are have mental health issues.

What is a Mental Illness?
The term ‘mental illness’ is very broad.  It covers a diverse range of health conditions relating to somebody’s psychological state.  Depression and schizophrenia are some of the better known examples of mental illness.  It is useful to note that the definition of mental illness is fluid.  It has changed frequently over time and is influenced by various social and cultural trends.  Some behaviours that would have been diagnosed as mental illness a decade ago would not necessarily be diagnosed in the same way today.

Read more

 

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