Published: 20-09-2023 13:07 | Updated: 20-09-2023 13:08

Jenny was sentenced to forensic psychiatric care

She was deprived of liberty for over ten years. "I feel a great deal of sadness that it took so long before I received proper care", says Jenny.

Photo: Erika Weiland

Text: Annika Lund, for the magazine Medicinsk Vetenskap nr 3 2023 / Spotlight on forensic psychiatric care

Jennys journey started with severe anxiety in her teens. To suppress her anxiety she began to binge eat and starve herself. To finance her binge eating she started shoplifting food. 

"I was admitted into inpatient care at BUP (Children and Adolescent Psychiatry), but didn't receive very much care and I also learnt I self-harm behaviour from other patients. Several years of involuntary care, characterised by restrictions and coercive measures. My trust in the healthcare system deteriorated", says Jenny. 

Finally she stole food for over 800 SEK. That's theft, with a penal range that includes imprisonment. Then she was sentenced to forensic psychiatric care. However, the care she received was designed for men with psychosis and substance abuse problems. Her self-harm behaviour increased, sometimes her self-harm would become life-threatening. 

"After years of care I met a nurse who managed to get through to me. I felt seen, heard and validated by her. She smuggled in a book: To live a life, not win a war: about acceptance, written by psychologist and researcher Anna Kåver She also asked me what I wanted my life to be like and how we could achieve that together" says Jenny. 

Healthcare and Jenny started to work on the same team. She finally received a well-modulated and individually designed support, gained the strength to stop binge eating and that meant she no longer had to shoplift food. After that she stopped self-harming. 

Now Jenny works in ambulance healthcare, have a common-law partner and live a meaningful, secure and well-functioning life. 

"My journey became longer than it needed to be. There's a lot of talk about healthcare today needing to be patient-centred. My did not became that until many, many years later. But when it finally did, the journey went very quickly", she says.


Age: 51 

Occupation: Works as an ambulance nurse. Works as a volunteer on issues involving psychiatry, among other things in Sweden's Municipalities and Regions and in the patient organisations NSPH, RSMH and PAR.