Mental Health – Representing Mental Health Patients

From her own family, Colette knows the emotional, mental, and financial challenges of having a loved one who suffers from mental health disorders. Colette’s desire and passion to help those suffering from mental illness drives her to serve as a defense attorney in Denton County Mental Health Court where she has been helping individuals with mental illness since 2017.

 

Before being authorized to accept court appointments in mental health cases, Colette had to undergo training including observing other attorneys representing mental health patients. Once the court required training program was complete, Colette was placed on the list of attorneys who can accept mental health court appointments in Denton County.

Appointed to Represent the Patients Intrest

Once being accepted to the mental health appointment list in Denton County, Colette began serving as mental health attorney of the day an average of three days per month. This entails being on call those three days to represent any patients who have been placed in an inpatient psychiatric facility. Patients are being held there on application of the hospital requesting continued inpatient mental health treatment. When the hospital files this application with the Court, an attorney is appointed to represent the patient.

Helping Patients in Mental Health Crisis

A patient may come to the hospital voluntarily and then be held because the hospital believes they are a danger to themselves or others or that their mental health has deteriorated to the point that the patient is no longer able to care for their daily needs.

 

A patient may also come to the hospital because they were picked up by the police after having been found to be in mental health crisis. Some patient are sent to the hospital from the jail because a magistrate being informed the inmate is suffering from mental illness in the jail.

 

No matter how the individual comes to be in the hospital, Colette meets with each patient to discuss their needs and desires in their case. A case can come to resolution in several ways ranging from the patient agreeing to stay in the hospital to the patient having a Court hearing to ask the Court to release them from the hospital.

"The more we talk about mental illness, the more we share about it, the more people will understand. Mental illness is a medical condition, it is no different than suffering from any other disease."

Colette Sallas

Representing Mental Health Patients in Denton County

Following their initial court date, patients who remain in the hospital will have a final hearing on their application fourteen days later and at that time if they are still in the hospital, Colette represents the patient in the final hearing.

 

There are also occasions where patients are not improving in the hospital and a hospital may file an application for court ordered administration of psychoactive medication. This can happen if the patient is refusing to take medications that the patient’s doctor believes are necessary to stabilize the patient. Colette also represents patients against these applications. Colette has represented patients in all aspects of mental health cases, including at the appellate level.

 

A major reason Colette spends so much time representing these patients is she believes that we need to normalize mental health illness. The more we talk about mental illness, the more we share about it, the more people will understand. Mental illness is a medical condition, it is no different than suffering from any other disease. We must share and discuss our experiences, good and bad, with mental illness. We need to talk; we need people to understand they are not alone and it is ok to ask for help.

Sallas Law represents individuals in Denton County including all Denton County District Courts and in the municipal courts of Denton County cities including Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Aubrey, Corinth, Lake Dallas, Sanger, The Colony, Justin, Krum, Argyle, Hickory Creek, Copper Canyon, Krugerville, and Crossroads.