Ex-National MP Jami-Lee Ross is getting the support he needs, friend says

Jami-Lee Ross is doing okay and is getting the support he needs, according to a friend who visited him on Monday in Middlemore Hospital's mental health care unit.

Mr Ross will be able to leave the hospital when he has a place to go with full-time support, which his friends are looking into, but they aren't pushing for him to leave in a hurry.

Mr Ross was picked up early on Sunday and 'sectioned' under the Mental Health Act, which means he did not go into care voluntarily.

When a Member of Parliament is taken into care like this it triggers a little-known process under the Electoral Act.

The court who ordered the detention, or the hospital where the MP is detained, has to notify the Speaker "as soon as may be".

The Speaker then tells the Director-General of Health who with a medical practitioner, most likely a psychiatrist, visits and examines the MP.

If the MP is assessed as "mentally disordered" (a legal term, not a medical term), the Speaker orders another assessment after six months.

If they're still assessed as "mentally disordered", the two reports go before the Parliament and the MP's seat is considered vacated.

The Speaker, Trevor Mallard, has not been notified yet and will not be commenting on it further.

The Mental Health Foundation called it an "unprecedented situation" on Twitter.

"We know and accept that to have a sitting MP apparently sectioned under the Mental Health Act is unprecedented & there are many aspects of this story that warrant open discussion, but we are disappointed to see old attitudes about mental illness seeping into those discussions," it wrote.

"We believe you can have discussions about these valid issues without using discriminatory or stigmatising language and without weaponising Mr Ross's distress against him."

The Mental Health Foundation had previously spoken out against Simon Bridges' use of the word "embarrassing" to describe the reason Mr Ross went on medical leave. Mr Ross subsequently said he suffered a mental breakdown.

Members of the National Party caucus are questioning why the inquiry into the leaking of Mr Bridges' expenses to Newshub had to be held publicly. Many believe it would have been better handled internally.

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