How we helped a teen get less restrictive treatment

How we helped a teen get less restrictive treatment

Challenging treatment you are receiving against your will can be a daunting experience without the support of a lawyer.

Find out how we helped Tricia (not her real name) successfully argue for less restrictive medical treatment.

stock image of teenage girl

Tricia’s story

Tricia is a teenager with a troubled past and a mental disorder she finds difficult to accept. We met her when she was an involuntary patient in a psychiatric unit.

Tricia’s father had a chronic mental illness and committed suicide when she was young. Her mother remarried and now has a second family. Tricia never got on with her stepfather. She always felt like an outcast.

She left home and moved in with John (not his real name), a drug addict. He was violent and abusive, but he said he loved her. She avoided using drugs.

Tricia fell pregnant and then lost the baby. She became depressed and tried to self-harm, and had some counselling. After she was found wandering the streets, dehydrated and confused, she was admitted to a psychiatric unit.

Tricia didn’t accept her diagnosis of a mental illness

She was frightened and didn’t want to ‘end up like her father’. While she recognised she needed some form of treatment, she felt that being in the unit was very restrictive and made her worse, not better.

What she really wanted was to leave John permanently, move into a share house with people her own age, continue her studies and get a job.

With our support Tricia was able to stand up for herself

Tricia came to us for legal help with her Mental Health Review Board (now the Mental Health Tribunal) hearing. Our lawyer argued that Tricia could be treated in ways that were less restrictive on her freedom. With our support, Tricia gained the confidence to express her own thoughts and views before the Board and her treating team.

The Mental Health Review Board agreed with Tricia, and she was discharged from being an involuntary patient. After the hearing Tricia said that without a lawyer she wouldn't have been able to stand up for herself.

Our lawyer recently saw Tricia again. She was positive and happy, and said she was taking her medication, had been doing a course and may have a job soon.

How we can help you

If you are being treated for a mental illness and are unsure about your legal rights and options, find out how you can get help.