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Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)


My young adult kiddo was involuntarily admitted on Sunday after a long stint in emergency. They appear to be experiencing schitzoaffective disorder but still to be confirmed and have been medicated. They are in the public system and don’t want to be there but home is not yet an option due to orders, and I need to consider the mental health of children in the household too (a month of them in the home before admission created extreme distress requiring treatment). 

The hospital isn’t being super helpful with information right now, so I have a few questions from those who have navigated this before if I may? 

1. how long is a first admission usually? I am getting the impression that they intend to extend the 7 day order. 
2. Is private mental health a better option when possible? I have health insurance (that I can barely afford as a single parent) that would cover the majority but it means they would be much further from

home for visits and I am also not sure if continuity of care or comfort iis more important 

3. How long  does it usually take for meds to start to make a difference in your experience? 
4. If you’ve been here before, what would you do differently or do again to make the process smoother and to help your loved one? 
5. Any thoughts on how to deal with the guilt attached to helping them be admitted when they didn’t think they needed it? 

Thanks for your time and carers spoons in reading this. 



Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Hi @Cloudwatcher 

I am sorry to hear about your child's admission. I can imagine this is a difficult time for you and your family.

I personally don't have experience with this, but I'll share what I know.

Admission length depends on how their mental health progresses and how they respond to medication, so it varies.

Most medications start kicking in after a couple of weeks, but they can take up to a month or more to have proper effect.

I believe that if you care for them with support, understanding, and love, then you're doing everything you can.

I can understand that it must have been tough, and there's guilt, but you did what was best for them since they were unwell. It's like giving a child a bitter medicine when sick because you know they need it to recover. In the short term, it might be an unpleasant experience for them, but in the long term, you did what was needed.

Sending you lots of support and strength ❤️

Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Hey @Cloudwatcher 

I have schizoaffective disorder and I have been admitted involuntary in the past. I thought I would support and add a little to what @lavenderhaze has written.


Private psych hospitals are nice, but they don't take involuntary patients, so I think you would have to stay within the public system to start with. Plus there are advantages of networking within the public system. Sometimes there are programs such as early psychosis intervention program if your child is under 25 and they operate one within your area. There is also the headspace early intervention program ( Personally, I am case managed within the public health service, which if case management is offered can open up other services down the track, e.g. I see a dietician through the local mental health service and I quit smoking with their smoking cessation program. My experience with the public health system is that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So I would even ask for case management if it's not offered. They are extremely busy so you might not get it but worth asking. 


Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Thankyou for your support; it is appreciated. I have become a little more accustomed to the idea now. It was very raw when I posted, 


I really wish the hospital was more forthcoming on telling me expectations for timelines etc. They haven’t been transparent at all, but I imagine that is due to reactions from patients previously. It helps to know the rough timeline for medication - crossing my fingers it is effective. Thanks again for your time 🌻

Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Thankyou Ainjoule - your lived experience is most valuable to me. 

I hadn’t considered case management, and the programmes run by the state. As you suggested, it will be a few weeks until release into private is possible, so in the meantime, it’s a good time to get all the supports around them that I can. I’ll start researching your suggestions and remember to be a little squeaky too.

Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Hey @Cloudwatcher just a lil tip, if you want other members to be notified that you've responded, you can tag them - use the @ symbol and a drop down will appear, and you can choose their name. If their name isn't there, you can type it out and it should then appear for you to select, and it will show up in blue, like this: @Ainjoule @lavenderhaze 

Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Thanks @Jynx - learning to navigate this too 😉 

Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)


I am new here too. This is my first post. I read your contribution although I don't have the answers you are looking for, but I can relate to your experience...

My mother was involuntarily sectioned and medicated last Thursday. She's 72 and has had a schizophrenic disorder for all of our lives. But, the nature of the disease is to "not know you have it" so its impossible to have her treated voluntarily. 

I won't go into how she ended up in the Mental Ward. But she did. I know what you mean about feeling helpless as the system just doesn't talk to you. For the first 48 hours we could barely even visit her, i had to travel interstate to see her. They took her belongings, phone, and put her in a high risk ward, which she is not even high risk. It was so painful and scary for us all. We had no idea what she was going through. And i felt so guilty that she was there, though I had did not choose or create this. 

At the hospital the psychiatrist forced us to make a decision - medication or not? But he refused to provide us any information on the medication its name, the risks, the side effects, upside?

We felt so ill prepared but thought after a lifetime with this illness, and never knowing how to help her, we might as will give it a go. 

She was discharged on Monday, mainly because of her age and she responding fairly well to her first medication. They also lifted the containment order, but she has to comply with the medication and get an injection every 1 - 3 months. Really worried about her complying with it.

I noticed that the medication seemed to help her to shift away from the unshakable, irrational, false beliefs she has (neighbors stabbing her, out to get her, etc...) but the medication has not stopped the delusions unfortunately. But she has been on the medication for only a week. anyway, I need to work out how to care for her, and i'm also joining such communities as this one as mum's recent hospitalization has really made me see how difficult carrying this responsibility has been growing up and continues to be in adult life. 

I hope some of this helps, even if its just that you see some of yourself in me and my situation. 



Re: Navigating involuntary orders and hospitalisation (psychosis)

Hey @AMAB ,


That sounds very scary to have to experience. I'm sorry it has been so hard.


I'm not 72 years old, but I can relate to the sectioning and the medication. 


It's not an easy choice. As much as the medication is helping her with her paranoia, I hear it is not helping with the delusions. Is that fair to say?


There are so many medications out there. Sometimes, it's about finding what works and this takes time. It's good to monitor how she goes. 


Do you usually live with her? Or do you live interstate?


I wonder if an aged mental health service is good for her. I know someone who worked in one in the past. He really liked it there. So essentially, it's supported aged care for those with mental health conditions. Not sure if you have one in your area.


Please continue reaching out. We recognise it's not easy at the moment.

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