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 mental 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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*Name changed to protect client privacy.

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We support thousands of people every year – ensuring vulnerable people, and particularly people experiencing mental illness or impacted by the trauma of family violence, receive high-quality advice, advocacy and legal representation.

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Read more about Ruah Legal Services and the Mental Health Law Centre in our annual reports. From 2020-21, we report on our operations as ‘One Ruah’ reflecting our merger with Ruah Community Services in 2019 and the expansion of our integrated legal and non-legal support to families.


RUAH 2022-23 Annual Report

RUAH 2021-22 Annual Report

RUAH 2020-21 Annual Report

MHLC 2019-20 Annual Report

MHLC 2018-19 Annual Report

MHLC 2017-18 Annual Report

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