Homicide charge dropped against Australian mother suffering from schizophrenia

Mental illness, especially an untreated one, can severely affect an individual’s ability to act normally. In a tragic turn of events, a 40-year-old mother, who had been suffering from schizophrenia, which had not been diagnosed, killed 8 children, including her niece, believing that she was saving them from an apocalypse.

However, the murder charges against 40-year-old Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, also known as Mersane Warria, were dropped by a court of law since people with an unsound mind are not held responsible for their actions under Queensland law. Reports shared that she had brutally killed her seven children and one niece aged between 2 and 14 years at home in the northern city of Cairns, Queensland. By the time, the police arrived, Thaiday had already stabbed herself 35 times, probably realizing what she had done.

The recent court ruling has freed the Australian mother of all the charges on the grounds that she was ailing with undiagnosed, and thus untreated, schizophrenia and that her deed was an attempt to save the children and her family from the end of the world.

According to the three different psychiatrists who had been observing Thaiday, her mental state had been deteriorating for past several months before the killings and that she was not under the influence of any drug, alcohol or any other substance when she acted this way. She has no previous record of crime or any mental illness.

Justice Jean Dalton says, “To her way of thinking at that time what she was doing was the best thing she could do for her children, she was trying to save them.”

Thaiday’s schizophrenia

According to psychiatrist Dr. Jane Phillips, Thaiday was suffering from a severe schizophrenic psychosis. Dr. Frank Varghese, one of the two psychiatrists assisting Justice Dalton, said that the apocalyptic delusional state of Thaiday was one of the worst cases of schizophrenia he had ever seen. He also said that such a condition may have been triggered by her long-term cannabis usage, which only stopped months before the killings.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder, which affects the way an individual thinks, feels and acts. It is also likely that the condition might make it difficult for the person to distinguish between the real and imaginary while also making him/her unresponsive or withdrawn. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with schizophrenia are 2-2.5 times more likely to die early than the general population.

Treating a patient with schizophrenia could be a life-long process, as the person does not recover completely even when the symptoms have subsided. A combination of medications and psychosocial therapies, such as group therapy, family therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective way to manage the condition. Consulting a mental health expert with a specialization in treating people with schizophrenia can prove to be the apt decision. Doing so can provide the person with the right kind of help at the right time.

Seek timely help for mental illnesses

Drug abuse and mental illness form a vicious circle. Abusing any form of drugs can lead to the development of mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. On the other hand, some forms of mental illnesses can also trigger drug abuse.

Treating both the conditions individually or simultaneously using medications, therapies, or a combination of both can act as an effective remedy to cure mental illness as well as the drug abuse. As the current case highlights, it is important to watch out for signs of distress in loved ones and take them to a health care professional at the earliest. It is also important to ensure that they follow the treatment plan religiously.

The 24/7 Mental Health Helpline serves as a source of mental health information and assistance. Our team of experts can help you connect with facilities offering mental health programs in the United States. Call our 24/7 Mental Health Helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with one of our experts to get know about the best mental health facilities near you.