I read the following piece with sorrow in my heart, and a mind churning out memories.
I was once a troubled teen, the result of mismanagement and abuse. I was put in the care of a private adult clinic at fourteen years of age. I was the youngest person in there, and it was without a school, teacher nor any tools to deal with a young, frightened and damaged psyche. As a result of this horrendous oversight, I was preyed upon by more than one violent adult, the end result being that I was abducted and thrown off a building.
Meetings were convened in the aftermath, and much hand wringing and reflection was had. All I asked (demanded) was that no child should be put in an adult facility in future. I advocated and I campaigned. As a result, rules of conduct and considerations to minors were tightened. At least, I was assured that they had. I breathed a sigh of relief, with the assurance that some good had come of my experience. I believed young people would be together, healing from the depression and pain which had sought to destroy them.
At a time when we require swift access to mental health services to keep our young alive and allow them to heal, we are instead given headlines such as this:
The full story can be found here.
What the hell! There should be more units opened for children, not less! I find it unfathomable that the Health Minister had no idea that this was going to occur. It shows a lack of cohesive and inclusive services and certainly a lack of communication. It takes time for a young person to open up to a mental health professional, and requires funding to ensure they have consistent support. They need to be with other children and teens, and have access to schooling, or other activities. It seems that time and funding are both in short supply. I feel for the professionals at the coal-face, and can’t imagine how difficult their job must be. The indisputable fact of the matter is that kids should never, ever be put in clinics or wards with adults, ever. You are dealing with one of the most vulnerable sections of society, and we have to ensure an environment conducive to healing.
I for one demand that funding be made available as a matter of urgency, to cater to the needs of our young. I would very much like this generation to not have to survive what I endured. It is preferable that it isn’t allowed to happen in the first place. I survived despite my treatment, and not as a result of receiving adequate help. That is a miracle in itself.
To make your feelings known, please contact the Health Minister, Brad Hazzard.