How to Help Someone with Mental Health Issues
If you know one of your loved ones has severe mental health issues involving substance abuse, you’d ideally want to step in to help them before they are facing criminal charges.
The best way you can help a friend or family who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is to encourage them to get expert, professional help. You can recommend they do one of the following:
- Call a Hotline
- Go to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist for 1-on-1 Counselling
- Attend Group Counselling Sessions
- Follow a 12-Step Program
- Check into a Treatment Centre or Rehab
Unfortunately, sometimes, people with mental health issues land up facing criminal charges and need to go to court.
How to Help Someone Facing Criminal Charges
The best way to help a loved one who is facing criminal charges due to their mental health issues is to hire a reputable, experienced criminal defense attorney.
You and your loved one are not alone in this.
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can assist in representing your case and help get the best possible outcome.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
A criminal defense law firm can assist your loved one in determining whether the case in question is eligible for a drug court diversion program, or if the person is fit to stand trial.
In the case of a drug diversion program, the requirements can be demanding, however, the benefits for those completing them are substantial.
What Happens Next?
The attorney will enter a plea if the person is charged with a crime and needs to go to court. This means pleading guilty or not guilty.
If the person’s mental issues mean he or she doesn’t understand the charges brought in against him or her, the court might decide that the person is unfit to plead.
Before the trial, it will be decided by the court whether the person is permitted to stay. Contingent on the situation, he or she might be able to go home on bail, kept in jail on remand, or sent to a hospital for a report on his or her mental state.
What Happens in Court?
If the person has a trial, the prosecution will need to prove that the person is guilty, whereas the criminal defense attorney will try to prove the person’s innocence.
However, there might be certain exceptions to this. The court has several options of what the outcome may be if the person is found guilty. His or her mental state must be taken into account when the decision is made.
The defense attorney can also appeal the decision if he does not agree with it.
Be Aware of Some The Essential Sections of Mental Health Act
- Section 37 – An order that sends the person to a hospital rather than prison.
- Section 37/41 – An order that sends the person to hospital as opposed to prison, but with restrictions attached. Some restrictions might be added if the person poses a serious risk to members of the public.
- Section 47 – If the person is in prison, he or she can be transferred from prison to hospital to get treatment under section 47.
- Section 47/49 – Transferring a person from jail to hospital with restrictions. Section 49 restrictions might be added if appropriate.
- Section 48/49 – The person can be sent to prison under section 48 when they are in prison on remand or in an immigration removal centre. Special restrictions will usually be added to the transfer under section 49. That’s why it’s called section 48/49.
A Positive Outcome
Upon successful completion, the charges against the person can be dismissed and they might qualify for having their record expunged or sealed.
A criminal defense attorney can represent the accused and help them understand what is happening and how they can achieve the best possible outcome.
Most importantly, the person can receive much-needed assessment and treatment and if they suffer from addiction, they can develop the skills needed to cope with addiction.
This post was sponsored by Mike G Law. All opinions are my own.