Nola Needs Our Help
I’m not sure if many of you will remember Nola Turner as she was one of the founding members of Women Can International Inc, but Nola was our photographer at our events and a committee member for the first year of Women Can’s incorporation.
Nola, a woman with high morals in her late 60′s, fell prey to a 45 year old womanising photographer who she had employed to teach her how to use her computer and had an emotional breakdown that resulted in the desire for her to end her life. The authorities stepped in and she was committed to Graylands Selby-Lemnos and Special Care Health Service.
I didn’t hear again from Nola for nearly two years and had no idea what had happened to her. During that time she was treated by Psychiatrists for what they diagnosed as a Bipolar condition.
To understand Nola’s history, we are talking about a woman who has lived a Christian life in word and deed, been a nurse for over 40 years and who when I met her I would have placed her in her 50′s not late 60′s because of her energy and vivacious personality. This is a woman who has raised three children and survived a breakdown in her marriage and subsequent divorce. A woman who has contributed tirelessly to the community through her involvement in charity work and helping the less fortunate.
So I was shocked when I learned of her demise and the subsequent events and even more shocked when she phoned me this week for my help. I was more incredulous at the finding and subsequent treatment for a bipolar condition that previously not beend diagnosed despite 40 years of working in the medical system.
Nola phoned to ask me if I would support her to help to free her from the Mental Health system. It seems that in the time that she was committed to Graylands that they used shock treatments and psychotic drugs to manage her depression. And now that she has been released back into the community and has lived independently since March, they are continuing to force the shock treatments on Nola and she finds that with each treatment she is losing a little bit more of her memory and capacity to function.
Nola has tried everything she knows how to free herself but currently she has no rights. Her son has power of attorney and is highly influenced by the advice he is getting from Graylands. Nola is not permitted to leave Perth. She can’t go interstate, overseas or even out of Perth. She is not permitted to drive a car so has to bike or walk everywhere and if she refuses Shock Treatment, the police can just come and cart her off and they will use drugs to control her behaviour.
I am not a pyschiatrist. I do not know what threat Nola poses to herself. But what I do know is that if that were me and I felt I was capable of managing without the treatment I would want someone to stand up for me.
How can we help Nola Turner?
Nola needs an independent Pyschiatric review as quickly as possible. They plan the next round of shock treatments on Friday, 7th October, 2011. She has phoned every private psychiatrist that she can find and most you have to wait up to 4 months to get in to see. Public pyschiatrists are a MUCH LONGER waiting period. Plus the cost is over $300 for an initial consultation and $250 PER PAGE for a report to be written up.
Nola has been following due process…contacting the Minister, the Consumer’s Health Council, the Mental Health Council, and everybody else that she can think of to try and get help but has made no progress.
Nola also told me that she picked up a bowel condition whilst she was in Graylands and that they were charging her over $100 per script for the medications for that treatment. You can understand how shocked Nola was when she went to her local pharmacy to fill the script and learned that she can buy the same medications over the counter for less than $20. There is something very wrong here.
Ladies, I need your support and help. I would like for Nola to have the opportunity to clear her mental health name through independent review, so that if she is being held without due cause and treated for condition that is a misdiagnosis, she can be freed from what is a life altering treatment process. Nola would love to be able to drive her car again and have the liberty to travel. She had just visited Israel when I met her and I know she would love to be able to travel again. But Nola’s greatest concern is that she will lose all her memory and her capacity to function independently which is very important to her.
Having met Nola post treatment I can tell you that she has already lost an obvioius amount of her memory functioning. She struggled at first to place me in her world and to remember my name even though we worked side by side on a committee and had been close friends less than three years ago. She also told me that changing the printer cartridge, a task that she has performed countless times, has now become very arduous.
We have to help Nola get a fair hearing.
Please support me with this by…
1. Thinking about anyone you know in Government who we could approach to take up Nola’s cause. She’s already been to the WA Minister for Mental Health with no outcome and her local MP.
2. Thinking about and finding a psychiatrist who will give an independent review of her case. She can only be freed from the system if a psychiatrist will vouch for her stable mental health.
3. If we need to take visual, public action, considering spending a day with me standing or sitting on the steps of parliament house. I am willing to put myself out there so that she can get a fair hearing.
I would appreciate your support in this matter and am open to any suggestions you may have. My intention is to help Nola to get the support that she needs.