Republic of Ireland Law
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1. Dear Sheila, I would advise you to stay where you are until you feel better. As you are a voluntary patient, you are free to leave the psychiatric hospital if you wish. However, when you left on 23rd March, it was only three days (26th March) before you had to return to the psychiatric hospital. So, this time I would advise you to stay in the psychiatric hospital until you feel fully well. That is the only way to return to full health.
2. I would also advise you to forget about reviewing your tribunal decision. Now, because you are a voluntary patient, any Tribunal decision is now extant - it no longer has any application to you. So, you should remain where you are, until such times as you feel well enough and strong enough in yourself to go back to a normal life. I would recommend moving to a situation where you spend weekends at home before you go to leave, so as to acclimatise yourself to life outside. Moving home at one go is often a precipitous move and you are best take it gradually until such times as you are fully strong in yourself to deal with every aspect of day to day life. Life outside is often a shock to the system after being hospitalised for a period of time. So, take things slowly.
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4. A psychiatrist cannot withhold personal belongings without good cause. So, you should speak to some other nurse or orderly in the hospital to see about getting your belongings back. Normally, these are returned when you leave hospital as there is no need for them in the hospital. I would also suggest that you ask your psychiatrist for a second opinion about being let out for weekends to ease the difficulty of returning to ordinary life. Whilst this one psychiatrist's opinion might follow a certain practice, a different psychiatrist might have a different opinion about the process of returning to ordinary life.
8. Maybe you have to just realise that for the moment, you are better off in hospital, whether you like being there or not. However, these are issues you should discuss out with your nurse and psychiatrist.
9. Dear Sheila, be aware that as a voluntary patient you can leave at any stage from the hospital. However, be aware that if you go to leave, when you are a danger to yourself, you run the risk of immediately being converted to an involuntary patient and detained under the Mental Health Act, because the test for admission includes patients who are a danger to themselves. So, you are better off remain involuntary and wait until you get strong before you leave the hospital. Time will pass quickly and you will feel and be better when you come out.
10. Dear Sheila, legally speaking, you can leave any time as a voluntary patient. However, your psychiatrist will change your status to an involuntary patient should you leave because you are a danger to yourself. From your own point of view, because you are a danger to yourself and forget to take your meds, it is better for your personal safety and vitality, that you remain a patient for a longer period of time. Ultimately, you should seek what is best for your health, over the longer term and not let your current dislike of hospital get the better of you.
11. The only advice I can give to you is to be patient and to give yourself time. Mental illness heals very slowly. So, think in terms of being there until you no longer feel poorly.
12. That is something that you can do. It will make clear where everyone stands.
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