Finding mental help – not easy – here are some tips:
People often ask me “where can I find some help for my son or daughter for a mental health problem?” Recently I was asked for some information about helping a rural young person with self harm problems… There is no easy answer… there is no ‘one size fits all’ option for rural people – but here are some links, phone numbers and tips that might be useful:
The common advice is to go to the GP, try this too. But, don’t be alarmed if the GP doesn’t know how to fix the problem… hopefully she or he will be able to point you in the right direction to seeking other appropriate help. Sometimes the GP doesn’t feel equipped to know what to do either but she or he should be able to help you to look for other resources.
Look for private mental health clinicians (eg nurse, psychologist, social worker, etc)- they are more likely to be able to often some focussed mental health help. Ask them about their qualifications and experience before embarking on treatment, especially for a child or young person. Try and select a clinicians who can build a strong rapport with young people – the trust that will build will be important in helping the young person to recover.
Ask your local state-based public health service to supply you with a list of options for your region… and ask them how to make an appointment. You could go to the reception desk of any community health or community mental health service to obtain this type of information.
Frequently the access to State health mental health services for young people is by phoning an ‘intake’ helpline. In NSW this phone number is 1800 011 511 or see this website for NSW contacts . However if you have an emergency situation then the Accident and Emergency department of your nearest hospital is the best option, and if it is a life threatening situation, then phone 000 for emergency services (police, ambulance or fire).
Health Direct is a 24 hour a day service – you can talk to a Registered Nurse day or night who will be able to help as well. Speak to a Registered Nurse by phoning this number: 1800 022 222. They also have a good list of links to mental health resources on their website...
Suicide Call Back Service is another useful 24 hour service. Phone 1300 659 467 to speak with a counsellor – day or night.
if you are lucky – you might have a headspace service in your town – there are 67 operating throughout Australia.
Never be afraid to ask RUOK? If you need some help with prompts for conversations about mental health or about asking if someone has been thinking about dying lately… or if they are thinking about doing something to end their life, then click of the RUOK to find out how to start those types of conversations and to find ways to help if someone is struggling.
And- don’t give up…. keep asking and keep seeking help until you find the mental health help you need for your child/ young person. It may not be an easy road – but if you can find one helpful person, then you might just start the ball rolling in the right direction and help might gather momentum.
This is not an exhaustive list of all that might be available – but it is a starting point… I hope it helps some people find the resources they are loojkng for…