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July 11, 2005
Mother Desperate To Help Son
Read more... Schizophrenia Personal Story
One Wellington mother was desperate to get help for her son who has symptoms of schizophrenia. In the past she even provoked her son to hit her so that she could get him the help he needs.
"Scarred by her experience, she is calling for changes to the Mental Health Act to enable struggling families to get help early, before their loved one becomes a threat to themselves or others. The mother, who would not be named, had been trying to get help for her adult son for two years before he was eventually committed to Wellington Hospital's Ward 27 in 2003.
Sending police to lock away her son had been traumatic, and though
The Mental Health Act only justifies compulsory treatment when the person is a "serious danger to themselves or others," or if they can not take care of themselves. This law is enforced so that individuals basic rights are protected. Although this seems fair, it can also put the families of the mentally ill at an extreme disadvantage. Many people with schizophrenia are unaware or in denial of their illness and getting them to volunteer for treatment can be difficult at times.
Unfortunately this law is not as consistently applied as it should be. Some families find it much easier than others to get their loved ones treatment, whereas others find it a battleground in which their loved one with schizophrenia ends up being the ones losing. For example the mother in this story spent two years of her life trying to get her son treatment, but was forced to go to extraordinary measures to ensure that he received the care he needed.
According to Mental Health Consumer's Union spokeswoman Marina Lathouraki there are two sides to this story. There are those who are severely disabled by their schizophrenia and yet still can not get treatment and then there are the people who "barely sneeze" and their families are able to put them into a treatment program. Forcing treatment on to those who do not want it is a delicate issue in itself, and there is not an entirely valid answer as to how to make sure that everyone's best interest is protected.
The source of this article is The Dominion Post from Wellington, New Zealand. It was written there by Nikki MacDonald.
To get more information on the Mental Health Act in New Zealand go to: http://tinyurl.com/7vao4
Posted by christine at July 11, 2005 12:03 PM
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