This is a very sad story. He was obviously not in his right mind — hadn’t slept in four days, hadn’t eaten in longer — and yet they allowed him to refuse treatment. Bobby is a victim of “the system” as much as he is of his disease.
As I noted before, Charley has quite a lot of MPs profiled who have schizophrenia. I just added another one today: Bobby Sine, a beautiful eighteen-year-old young man who disappeared a year ago this week. What’s particularly upsetting about this case is that Bobby’s mother sought psychiatric treatment for him the day he disappeared. He was psychotic, hadn’t eaten in a week or slept in four days, and was having suicidal delusions…yet, at the hospital, he refused treatment and they decided he was competent to do so! And let him go! If they had just done their damn job and committed him, this wouldn’t have happened.
Now, I have been “involuntarily committed” for depression, and it was very upsetting for me, but that was in large part because it was unnecessary. Both times this happened I went to the hospital voluntarily and asked for help, fully expecting to be ADmitted, and found myself COmitted instead. It made no practical difference, because people in the psych ward weren’t treated any differently whether they were there “involuntarily” or not, but it just made me feel all the more helpless and frightened and generally stressed out. However, I recognize that sometimes people need to be admitted to the hospital against their will…to prevent just the sort of thing that happened with Bobby Sine. He was obviously a danger to himself.
I have asked Michael Schofield, a well-known advocate for mentally ill people and their families, to try to publicize the case or something. Just in case Bobby is alive and wandering around somewhere. But I don’t have a lot of hope. And this should not have happened.