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Monday, 21 May 2007

Mental health problems lead to a sick man killing himself while in jail.

Did my sick husband have to die in jail? - Guardian


"To Alan Mullin's family, the irony was cruel. Famous as one of Scotland's leading mountaineers, Mullin was now spending days and nights on end in front of a computer screen, his mind spinning out of control. Having taken on some of the toughest winter climbs in the world, he found himself exploring the peaks and depths of his own mind, looking for answers in cyberspace.

In the two-and-a-half years since Alan was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, his wife, Marion, felt they had managed to cope. But last January his condition worsened. Increasingly desperate, Marion Mullin reached out for help. The consequences of that decision will, she says, haunt her for the rest of her life.

Within days, Alan Mullin had hanged himself in his cell while on remand in Porterfield Prison in Inverness for a breach of the peace.

Marion Mullin is angry and bitter about the way her husband was treated. He was, she says, a danger only to himself. She wants an explanation for why a man who was delusional and had attempted suicide several times was in prison rather than in hospital.

She also fears that the new Mental Health Bill will make the situation of patients such as her husband worse, not better. The bill, which is being debated in parliament, is criticised by doctors and mental health charities for failing to meet the real needs of the mentally ill."

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