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InternationalUntreated Schizophrenia Potential Factor in Sydney Mall Attack

Untreated Schizophrenia Potential Factor in Sydney Mall Attack


A tragic case of untreated mental illness is believed to lie at the heart of Australia's worst mass stabbing in decades. Joel Cauchi, the 40-year-old man accused of killing seven people at a busy Sydney shopping center earlier this month, had reportedly been living with schizophrenia for nearly two decades but fell out of treatment in recent years.

According to information provided by his family, Cauchi was first diagnosed with schizophrenia – a chronic and severe mental disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking – at age 17. He successfully managed his condition for nearly 18 years through consistent medical care and medication. However, over time he slowly discontinued treatment, ultimately going untreated in the months and possibly years leading up to the horrific attack on April 13th.

Without medication and support, experts say those suffering from schizophrenia often begin experiencing a recurrence or worsening of symptoms, hampering their ability to realize they need help. This appears to align with Cauchi's situation, as he remained largely disconnected from family and friends prior to the rampage, living in shelters and vehicles after leaving home. Police have found no evident motive thus far beyond Cauchi's known mental struggles.

While not all cases turn violent, untreated schizophrenia can sadly lead to tragedy in rare instances due to psychosis interfering with judgment and behavior. Moving forward, there are calls to strengthen Australia's public mental healthcare system and support networks, so those in need of long-term treatment facing personal crises don't fall through gaps undiagnosed or unsupported. In Cauchi's case, timely intervention may have saved lives. But for now, the community looks to honor victims, prevent future harm and improve life-saving care for society's most vulnerable.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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