Last Wednesday, we reported how a grieving teenager was charged with ‘causing a public nuisance’ after standing on a ledge over the M602 and threatening to jump, declaring that her life ‘isn’t worth living’.
The 18-year-old, who had just lost her mum and had been self-harming, was berated by magistrates for causing ‘a massive inconvenience’ after her desperate actions closed the road for 20 minutes.Well, yes. And so they should. Why is the newspaper taking out an onion for this nuisance, instead of the emergency services and innocent members of the public?
Her story prompted outrage from mental health campaigners and M.E.N. readers alike.So, the usual suspects. *rolls eyes*
Yet within days, another troublingly similar case has come to light, in which a 27-year-old woman - who had disappeared from the Meadowbrook psychiatric unit in Salford after a row over her medication - wandered out into traffic on the same motorway earlier this year.
Police charged her with the rarely-used offence of being ‘excluded traffic’ on a motorway. This morning she was convicted of exactly that, before being taken back to the same unit.
The court heard, in her defence, that while she had 'caused cars using the motorway to slow down', she hadn't put anyone else in danger.Which is bollocks. Any time you force vehicles to slow down on a motorway, you are indeed putting them and other vehicles at harm. No wonder the court convicted her.
Note that she wasn't sent to prison, just back to the mental health ward.
Stuart Lucas, of the charity’s Manchester branch, said: “Whilst we understand that the police are sometimes placed in stressful situations, a person who is obviously struggling with aspects of their mental health should be treated with understanding, patience and dignity, and not criminalised."How much patience, Stuart? Because what the Manchester Evening News only mentions in passing (and clearly their thick as mince readers missed) is that both of these are repeat offenders.
In each of the two cases, the vulnerable women in question had repeatedly been discovered by officers in a similar part of the M602.
Yet rather than that being taken as a sign of the severity of their mental health crises, they were prosecuted.People serious about killing themselves just do it. People whose 'mental health issues' manifest as attention-seeking don't. And these people need to realise there are consequences.