Leo’s Story

Leo is a 54-year-old man with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder who has spent many years of his life in the mental health system but has no criminal history.

Leo was referred to Ruah Legal Services when he was an inpatient at a mental health ward. He had been charged with stealing. Before becoming unwell, Leo had been living with his partner in a private rental, financed from an inheritance income. The private rental was very expensive, and his partner appeared to be taking advantage of Leo financially. By the time Leo was admitted to the mental health ward, he had no savings and was unable to pay his rent. Leo was effectively homeless with no income stream.

Leo’s lawyer connected him to a Key Worker, who was able to collaborate with the treating team at the hospital and the community team upon discharge. The Key Worker supported Leo to attend the Ruah Community Services ID clinic so that he could obtain a birth certificate that enabled him to set up Centrelink payments.

The Key Worker liaised with a housing service and secured a unit for Leo’s long-term accommodation needs.

As the unit was in an area that the client was not overly-familiar with, the Key Worker arranged for Leo to connect with Ruah Community Service’s Mental Health and Wellness team who could provide ongoing community support.

When Leo was called before the Magistrates Court, the Key Worker provided the lawyer with letter of support that listed Leo’s progress since offending, including securing stable housing and linking with a community mental health team.

The Court outcome was that Leo received a suspended fine.  Leo was very thankful for the support offered by his lawyer as well as the Key Worker. The Key Worker stayed connected with Leo for a month or so after the court process concluded to make sure he remained linked to the mental health services needed to maintain his mental health and wellbeing.

*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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