A Dundee woman has told how she was arrested by police after seeking help from a mental health hospital.
Mercedes Ferrier, 23, of Kirkton, has suffered mental health issues since she was 18 but in March her condition worsened severely. When she told a GP she was having suicidal thoughts, she was given an urgent referral to the Carseview Centre.
But when Mercedes told assessors at the clinic that she’d had thoughts of hurting herself and another person, she claims staff decided she had not shown signs of mental illness and called the police instead.
She was charged with threatening and abusive behaviour but Mercedes says she never verbally or physically abused or threatened anyone.
After facing trial at Dundee Sheriff Court, she was acquitted of the charge by Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown.
Mercedes says she was “traumatised” by the experience.
She told the Tele: “I had no idea what was going on. All I wanted was help. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I thought I’d either get help in Carseview or care in the community. But in the end, I was arrested.
“The police took me to Bell Street and about four hours later they let me out and gave me a lift home. I’d never been in trouble with the police or in the cells before, so I was traumatised by it all and then with the trial too.
“When I spoke to my GP the next day, she couldn’t believe what had happened.”
Following the incident, Mercedes says she self-harmed and overdosed half-a-dozen times as “a cry for help”.
She was taken to Ninewells Hospital by her concerned mum each time.
Mercedes said medics eventually realised what help she needed and they now believe she might have autism spectrum disorder. She said: “I think I just wanted people to realise just how bad I was.
“But I’m getting better now and I really want to be a nurse so I can help others, so I’m looking forward to the future.
“It was a psychologist at Dudhope Adult Psychological Therapies Service that helped me the most. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here today.
“My overdoses were a cry for help and eventually I did get it. My message to others is that you have to keep trying and asking for help. Whatever you do, don’t give up.”
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said the health board wouldn’t comment on individual patients for confidentiality reasons.