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Can anyone help please, my brother may be sectioned tonight

(22 Posts)
missytrouble Sun 02-Sep-07 22:08:20

He has been depressed since our dad died 18 mths ago. Then mum died 7 weeks ago and he has hit rock bottom. He has been really nasty to his wife and step children.

I don't know all the details but she rang the police earlier today and despite her telling them he had threatened suicide they said there was nothing they can do. So I advised her to ring the out of hours GP unit. She is now waiting for a visit.

They told her on the phone they would give him the oppurtunity to go to a&e for a psych assessment but if he refused they would have him sectioned.

I feel so helpless as I live a three hour journey from him. If he does get admitted via whichever route will he be really 'drugged up' or will they assess him first? And can he refuse treatment if it affects him adversely?

Sorry this is long. I don't have much experience in this area.

jules99 Sun 02-Sep-07 22:16:07

they cant section him purely on the basis that he refuses to go to a and e,

they need 2 docs to section and you have to be quite unwell for them to do this,

there are different types of section, one is for obs others are for longer periods,

sorry to hear you are going through this, losing your mum and dad so soon must be very hard for both of you,

also i would think it depends on how horrid/what he has done to wife ect as too how they will handle the situation, ie if the police are involved (ect)

has been a while since i worked in nursing but they are unlikely to 'drug' him up unless he is excessively violent and even then the hospital will try to avoid doing it against his will,

missytrouble Sun 02-Sep-07 22:25:05

Hi jules. That is what I thought re being sectioned. He has threatened suicide before and has self harmed so I don't know what to think.

I guess his coping mechanism isn't good and this is how things have affected him.

jules99 Sun 02-Sep-07 22:38:43


i have been out of mental health nursing for 5 years now and i know things change but i am sure they will do what ever he needs in the way of helping him,

in 4 years of nursing, including 2 years in a hospital for really sick people, many of them were section for endless years and had little hope of ever leading 'normal' lives i have only ever witnessed 'forced meds' (where they pin you down) once sad

the threat of killing yourself is a sign of someone being very very unhappy but it need not lead on to anything more than a threat (my dad had threatened 6 or more times over the years so i know how scary this is) it is a constant worry that if you dont take it seriously you will never forgive yourself if the worst was to happen, but you (and i) cant live like that, if they are set about doing it they will sad sad

the self harm is another issue and i believe that pepole who self harm do it for lots of reasons (none of them nice reason obviously) but it is a way of 'feeling' pain in a real sense and not just 'feeling' it inside, building like a pressure cooker with no outlet,

i am not sure what to say to make you feel any better, i wish i could, i wish it would all go away for you,

have you heard from the hospital/doc yet?

sorry for the spelling/typing, i am not the best but i wanted to reply and not spend the next 10 mins checking what i typed blush

missytrouble Sun 02-Sep-07 22:52:44

Thank you jules

His wife has just texted to say he managed to pull the wool over the docs eyes and the doc said she should leave him in peace!

I think all I can do is try and contact him tomorrow when he has calmed down a bit.

I can't cope with this so his wife will have to sort it out. Obviously I am worried but if he won't accept help then there isn't much I can do from here.

The good thing is that his wife is worried so she will watch him.

I don't want to sound like I don't care but I am starting to pull myself together and I have a 2.8 dd to think about.

Thanks again.

jules99 Sun 02-Sep-07 22:58:42

good to hear that missy,

sleep well (if you can)

and mail me tomorrow if you need to x

missytrouble Mon 03-Sep-07 15:34:50

Hi jules. Sorry didn't reply last night. My computer was on a go slow!

Have spoken to sil and she spent last night at her parents with the dc. He was being abusive apparently.

He texted me and he thinks we are all against him. I told him we are worried but he won't believe me.

The trouble is he doesn't recognise that he has a problem. He is on meds for depression but they obviously aren't working.

He presents very well so a lot of people don't know he is depressed.

HorseyWoman Mon 03-Sep-07 16:13:55

Hi missytrouble,

You have my sympathy as I have been sectioned under the mental health act. The police came here because of something I did/would have done when I fell into a dissociative state. They left when the situation was calmed but made sure an out of hours GP was called. They didn't stay and wait for the GP so my husband could have been in danger. As far as my experience tells me, though, the police only have power to do something if they cannot calm the situation or if they have seen someone attempt rather than threaten suicide. I had been self-harming a long time and had a knife to myself but the police restrained me and took the knife. Soon after the doctor came and tried to get me to voluntarily admit myself to the MH unit - could have been any one in the South West. I think it turned out I wouldn't and I ended up being sectioned.

I was initially assessed by her and don't really know what happened, but when I got to the unit, which was thankfully close to home (but they can put you in a normal hospital if no beds on MH units available) I was assessed again by a psychiatrist and given a room on the unit. You can wander freely on the unit and some patients are allowed out between certain hours of the day (if they are safe to be out alone or with another adult). They didn't sedate me or give me anything but my antidepressants, because I was calm and accepting of the situation. But I was there a week or so and throughout the week I had attempted to drag my DH back to my room from the communal area (after I had been stopped from having him in my room because I tried to stop him leaving the night before), I smuggled a BUTTER knife to my room to self-harm and was completely hysterical. So they drugged me to calm me down and make me sleep.

In the end, it was best they did that because my husband needed a break. I wanted him to be with me, to take me home, but I needed help, and the help wasn't coming fast enough until I went in there (I had already been referred to psychiatrist and had social worker and cpn, but it was on very low level, waiting for CAT therapy). I got to see the psychiatrist every other day and people from groups came in to see me - like art groups (I was a student and had given up work cause of illness). I was reassessed before I left and they called my stay a 'crisis break', which is why it was short. When I left I had the crisis team coming to see me every day for about 2 weeks, then every few days for a couple of weeks. When I took an overdose they got involved again (they like to prevent admissions where possible). When I took an OD I had to go to a&e and see psychiatrist I saw when on unit, but he let me go home and sent crisis team in daily. My social worker stepped up a gear and my CAT was brought forward. They got my meds right and worked faster.

But I was actually threatening to stab myself, and nearly did, which is why the police restrained me. Threatening suicide doesn't normally get you sectioned, I don't think. I think you can voluntarily admit yourself if you are not coping, but they will only section if you have shown danger to yourself and others.

He will be drugged if uncontrollable/dangerous/hyper, like I was a couple of times. They may also drug him if he is dillusional - as I was. He may not be allowed visitors on his first day as they like to properly assess, but he will be allowed visitors practically all day, for an hour or so at a time. My family, apart from DH, weren't really interested, though, so your DB is lucky to have you.

It is a hard time and an awful, awful place to be. I won't lie to you. I went back to my room after breakfast one day, to find one of the other patients in my bed (we mainly had our own rooms). There are some very very very ill people who are in these places a long time. People like me and your brother are usually sent there for short term intervention, while they sort something out on the outside.

He will be looked after and wrapped in cotton wool (most of my stuff was confiscated - hair grips, straighteners... anything I could harm myself with). When I got there, a female nurse went through my bag and took out all my paracetomol (I get headaches and it was my uni bag), she looked through all my clothes, including thoroughly looking under the crotch in my knickers. They asked me to change into a nightie and they checked pockets on my clothes. Was very childlike, but necessary.

I hope your brother will be ok and that I have given the facts. I stopped taking the tablets in May this year (15 months after being admitted and 3 years after diagnosed with MI), and I finished CAT therapy in March. I've had hypnotherapy and I have been discharged by the MHT, so I am well on road to recovery, although still left with physical reminder (weight gain). There is light at the end of the very long tunnel, depending on severity of your brother's illness - I was diagnosed with personality disorder as well as depression. But he will get there with some help.

Best wishes to you all. xxx

HorseyWoman Mon 03-Sep-07 16:17:15

Just read some more, and him thinking you are all against him, sounds familiar. But then again psychosis was part of the personality disorder for me (dissociating, being dillusional...). Sometimes people say everyone is against them as a kind of 'woe is me' statement, but often, it's part of the illness of which paranoia is a symptom.

Fireflyfairy2 Mon 03-Sep-07 16:19:09

Horseywoman, how open & honest. Thankyou for sharing your experience with us.

Missy, I hope your brother gets the help he needs. You have my deepest sympathies on the death of your parents. Take Care of yourself xo

HorseyWoman Mon 03-Sep-07 16:27:14

Thanks smile I used to be ashamed of having been ill, but more recently I see how it has helped me become what I am now. I am also proud of what I achieved when I was ill. I managed to finish my degree with a top mark. And if I can help someone by explaining what I remember from my experience, then that makes me happy.

People are scared of MH units, and there are some very ill people in them, but once you are in there it is very hard to leave. I cried when I was discharged and asked to stay, because you are placed in such a protective bubble where no one can hurt you or say anything horrible to you. It was a haven for me, despite the nasty sights I saw in there. But these days, these places can turn people around. There are still people stuck in there for a long time, but there's a big emphasis on community mental health teams now, which some think is bad because of a perceived danger to society - but they are not talking about the very ill being released from the units, not til they are ready anyway. I wouldn't have got properly better on the unit.

Thing is, before I was admitted, I went to see a GP who wasn't my own (was my husband's at the time, but we have since changed), as I wasn't coping, and my husband wanted me admitted. This doctor scared the life out of me, telling me what would happen to me in there (which wouldn't - they are homely and like a modern hospital ward), and that I should pull myself together. What ill people need is understanding and facts.

summer111 Mon 03-Sep-07 20:06:46

Firstly, I'm very sorry for your recent loss; it must be so difficult for you trying to deal with your brother and family, while you are still grieving for you try to look after yourself.

Regarding your brother, depending on where he's living, his local mental health services may offer a Home Treatment service as a substitute to in patient admission. However, an in patient admission may be exactly what he needs at thia time, in order to have a diagnosis confirmed by a psychiatrist and appropriate treatment prescribed.

One note of warning regarding his depression; make sure that he is not covering up his true depressive feelings from you and his wife. I don't want to alarm you but sometimes when an individual is suicidal, they appear brighter prior to attempting to take thier life. This is because they feel happier that they have decided upon a 'solution' to their problems.

Best of luck

kylah Mon 03-Sep-07 20:33:38

Hi, I'm just reading your thread and my heart really goes out to you and your family. My dad was sectioned under the mental health act voluntarily after a long period of erractic and distructive behaviour as he had been depressed and an alcoholic all his life pretty much. I know it may be hard but they have to go through these hard times to realise they need help, he may not thank you or his family now and may even resent you for the actions but it will come in time. These things are hard at the best of times but as long as you stick together and take care of yourself, as cheesy as it sounds there will be light at the end of the tunnel as long as you accept that it wont happen overnight and the healing process can take time. Good luck with everything.

kylah Mon 03-Sep-07 20:35:25

Sorry to add to that, but my brother was also sectioned temporarily and put on suicide watch during a nasty court case. That was nearly ten years ago now and he is married with babies now, long time coming but thats life I suppose!

Desiderata Mon 03-Sep-07 20:47:48

The Mental Health Act, 1983 is actually quite complex.

From what I've gathered from the OP, your brother does not on the surface of it, seem ill enough to be sectioned, which is to be detained under the Mental Health Act.

They cannot have him sectioned simply because he refuses a psych assessment. He would have to do or threaten something alarming for that process to kick in.

jules99 Mon 03-Sep-07 20:58:29


glad to hear you are ok (well not ok but you know what i mean)

your db is clearly having a really hard time, he is not a bad person, just a bit lost at the moment, support and trying to understand is the best thing you can do for him right now sad

him thinking the world is against him is a tough one, my dad often says the same and is convinced we all 'talk' about him behind his back,

it is not true, yes we do talk but nothing is said that we do not say to him directly, we just worry about him all the time sad


what an amazing lady you are smile

thankyou for sharing your experiences, it all helps as we try to gain a better insight to what it feels like to be suffering the awful tourture that is so difficult to begin for us to imagine, so thankyou once again, i am glad to hear you have battled your demons and you are on the 'up'


look after yourself, take care, you need to be strong for your db, i hope he gets the care and love he so obviously needs...

love and big hopes for a more peaceful life go out to all involved on this thread x

missytrouble Tue 04-Sep-07 14:01:31

Horsey, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. You have given me some peace of mind-I had alsorts of images in my head. I am so glad you are now well and enjoying life

Summer, this is why I am so worried, he keeps sending texts that say why is everyone lying to him, there must be a place where people don't lie. When I said I would never lie to him he said of course not, but I am sure he was telling me what I wanted to hear.
I am going to speak to his GP later today to try and give her a clearer picture.
He did go to his GP yesterday and she changed his meds and also gavehim sleping tablets. But he is sleeping 14 hrs so I don't know how they will help.

Jules, I didn't mean to sound hard on him. He knows that I will give him all the love and support he needs. I have suggested he move nearer to me as his wife seeme to be making the situation worse. Plus I can be more help if he is nearer.

Thank you all so much for your advice.

jules99 Wed 05-Sep-07 21:26:13


how are things today?

i never thought you sounded harsh, sorry if it came across that way blush

i just meant it is so hard to understand what it feels like to be your brother/my dad at the moment sad

hope i did not upset you x

missytrouble Fri 07-Sep-07 21:20:24

Hi jules

You didn't upset me. Sorry, am a little over sensitive at mo.

He has been asking about counselling so at least he is recognising he needs help. He sounds more positive, so maybe the crisis time has passed for now? I hope so for his sake.

Can I say thank you so much for chatting when you have your own problems. I read your thread asking for advice on your blood work. I'm so sorry for what you are going through

Take care xx

Blandmum Fri 07-Sep-07 21:23:11

It is really quite hard for someone to be sectioned IME. Two doctors have to be convinced that the patiens presents a serious risk to themselves or others.

My DM has dementia, and has been hospitalised for around 5 years but she has only once been sectioned, My experience is that the staff use the minumum amount of drugs that they can.

I hope that things get better for you and your db as soon as possible. This is a horrible time for everyone concerned

justjules Fri 07-Sep-07 23:30:54


thankyou smile

yes, things are hard for me right now but it is nice to worry about something/someone else instead of myself,

how are things with your brother today?

my dad is the same, he refuses to accept he has a problem, i am sure this is down to being scared of the test results more than anything else,

take care, be good to yourself,

mail me if you need me x

justjules Fri 07-Sep-07 23:31:46


i was sick of the 99 so now i am justjules grin

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