Verdict: neglect is no reason for psychiatric hospitalization

Federal Constitutional Court: mentally ill no longer dangerous
An otherwise threatening neglect alone does not justify compulsory placement in a psychiatric clinic. A precondition is a risk to life or health, the Federal Constitutional Court emphasized in a decision published on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 (file number: 2 BvR 1739/14).

It ended the forced placement of a man from the Rhineland. He could not sleep one night in 1994 and suddenly had a hallucination and heard voices. They ordered him to kill his wife. Under the influence of these voices, he took his pillow and pressed it to his sleeping wife's face to suffocate her. The woman woke up, struggled and finally managed to escape.

The regional court in Duisburg then ordered the placement of the man in a psychiatric hospital. This measure has been enforced with interruptions ever since.

Most recently, the regional court in Kleve ordered the continuation of the placement in 2014. In the same year, the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Düsseldorf confirmed this decision. The expert no longer considered the man dangerous, but there was a risk of “neglect”.

As the Federal Constitutional Court decided, this violates the man's freedom rights. Interferences with these rights are "only allowed for particularly important reasons".

Here, the experts had expressly emphasized that the man had worked through his deed and the underlying schizophrenia. The clinic had pointed out that he was well medicated and showed no resistance to taking his medication. The expert is convinced that property crimes are to be feared at most, but violence against people is no longer an issue.

A further forced placement was therefore not justified, the Federal Constitutional Court found in its decision of November 16, 2016, which has now been published in writing

Author and source information

Video: My Neglected Mental Health Experience (September 2021).