Mistreated Mental Health Patients Should Be Given Compensation, Public Apology, Report Finds


From Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “The Victorian government has been accused of trying to force changes to an independent report into the trauma caused by compulsory mental health treatment, with the author claiming he was threatened by department officials.

Last year mental health consultant Simon Katterl, who has lived experience, was contracted by the Department of Health to provide advice to the mental health minister about the impact of compulsory mental health treatments on patients.

The report found that Victorians who had suffered ‘gross human rights violations’ during mental health treatment against their will should be offered financial redress by the state with a full public apology from the government.

Some people who ‘had a mental illness’ were subjected to compulsory treatment that included seclusion, restraint and coercive treatment including the use of induced comas.

Author of report claims government demanded changes, made threats

The special report, commissioned by the department to provide advice to the mental health minister, has also called for Victoria to set up a restorative justice process. This would allow consumers — people who were patients in the mental health system — and carers the chance to publicly detail the trauma they suffered as a result of treatment.

[Katterl has] accused the department of pressuring him to change the recommendations of his report, which he refused to do. ‘A whole series of personal threats were made against me, to prevent me from releasing the report or to change the report,’ Mr Katterl said.

He said he was told he would not be considered for future work if he did not make changes to the recommendations. He said the department was particularly concerned about the restorative justice process. The state government has distanced itself from the report.”