Teen’s plea for support services to cope with ‘mental health epidemic’

Stock image.
Stock image.

A TEENAGE girl desperate for help says more support services are needed to cope with Mandurah’s “mental health epidemic”.

“Suicide rates have dramatically increased and there is an obvious need for more supported services,” she said.

“What am I supposed to do when I am asking for help but being turned away by every single service?

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“Where is the help and support to assist in my recovery?

“I am devastated by the lack of support I am receiving and am desperate for this to change.”

The 18-year-old was describing her mental health treatment over the past three years.

She has been referred to many local and Perth services.

“Even though I am engaged with these services, I feel incredibly let down and disheartened by the lack of support I am receiving,” she said.

“Although I have a written management plan stating I can access an admission whenever I need, this is certainly not the case.

“The majority of times I have presented to an Emergency Department to access the crisis admission, I have been waiting in ED for a few days on average.

“On many occasions I have been advised by the psych liaison at the hospital that it is not worth waiting as there are no beds available at any appropriate mental health unit.

“This is incredibly frustrating for me as it takes courage to reach out for help and support, only to be turned away. This results in my family having to take the full responsibility for my care and safety, even when I am at crisis point.

“There would be an outrage if a patient with a broken leg was denied treatment and sent home from an Emergency Department. What is the difference?”

The girl said help in the community was not much better.

“I have been identified as a young person with exceptionally complex needs, yet have been denied access to a range of different support and treatment services,” she said. “I have been referred to over 22 different supported accommodations and support services.

“I have been denied care by all of them.”

She said strategies needed to be put into place to increase access to services, not exclusion criteria that created barriers to services.

She appealed for improved access to services and more communication between services.

“Please help make this happen and help in any capacity you can before there is another youth suicide,” she said.