The father of a boy who waited more than 60 hours in the Launceston General Hospital emergency department says his son has “fallen through the cracks”.
The 11-year-old, who attempted self-harm, was brought to hospital on Wednesday morning for assistance with behavioural issues and acute mental health.
The boy’s father said his son needed support.
“There needs to be more done to avoid situations like this from happening again. It’s one thing for adults to present themselves to a hospital, but you don’t expect that for adolescents,” he said.
“It is a pretty confronting situation, for a kid of his age to want to harm himself.
“I understand there is only so much that the hospital can do, but if he continues to get pushed away, or doesn’t get the support he needs, I don’t know what is going to happen.”
Mental health advocate Karalyn Hingston, who spent 18 nights in a private mental health clinic in Launceston last year, said she was left devastated by the news.
“My heart broke for that little boy, but I wasn’t surprised,” she said.
We focus on intervention and prevention, but what happens when you get to the pointy end – a crisis like this.Karalyn Hingston
“It is easy to be critical of situations like this, but it is time we found some solutions and if a story like this can make people sit up and take notice we have to demand a change. We need to have a safety net.
“We focus on intervention and prevention, but what happens when you get to the pointy end – a crisis like this.
“If someone presented to the emergency department with heart pain, you wouldn’t make them wait 60 hours.”
Mental Health Council of Tasmania chief executive Connie Digolis said the case was systematic of broader issues relating to mental health care.
“Ensuring adequate support is vital for anybody who finds themselves in a crisis situation,” she said.
“By not ensuring the support is there, we are only delaying their recovery.
“We need to look at how we can ensure safe and supportive access to services.”
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline 13 11 14.