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Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Topic: Advice Please

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. 112211
    112211 avatar
    3 posts
    24 February 2021

    My daughter is 14 and for months I have been trying to support her mental health. I cannot seem to get support and I just don’t know how this works.

    Her GP referred her to a psychiatrist for an assessment but the psychiatrist won’t see her. No reason given. I am very limited with options as she is scared of talking to or seeing a male psychiatrist. We have waited months for a psychologist appointment and it’s still 3 weeks away.

    Hub services tell me they can’t help and emergency triage services say she is not classed as urgent and is still months from being seen. I am scared that all this waiting is just pointless and I know every day brings her more misery and pain. She has become disassociated with life and struggles with every day tasks of school and hygiene. Is there anything I can do within the mental health system that will help?

  2. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1359 posts
    24 February 2021 in reply to 112211

    Hi 112212

    Welcome to the bb forum. I am really sorry that you are struggling to access help for your daughter. Of course, I am also sorry to learn that your daughter is unwell.

    I have walked in your shoes. My daughter fell ill at age 13. I can remember waiting to access care, just like you, and I understand your pain and frustration.

    It’s really hard to watch your child become even more unwell over time but, at the same time, not be unwell enough to access emergency care. I get it. It’s a heartbreaking place to be.

    A couple of ideas come to mind that may assist you.

    You could go back to your GP and ask for a referral to another child psychiatrist. There will be a wait, as you know, but worth it to be in the queue.

    You could also ask your GP for a referral to a paediatrician (I did this with great success). I suggest this for three reasons.

    First, a paediatrician can manage medication for mental health conditions, whereas your GP might not want to do this and a psychologist can’t do this. So if you can’t get a female psychiatrist this could be really important.

    Second, they are also really good with mental health conditions.

    Third, from my experience, a paediatrician may have better knowledge and networks with local child mental health practitioners. This means that you may well get a more thoughtful and appropriate referral from your GP. And with a call from the paediatrician you may get in faster.

    I would also think about finding someone to provide you with mental health support. I found a mental health nurse in private practice and she was like my coach.

    I told her about what was happening at home and she gave me strategies and advice on how best to support my daughter. I know I became a better support person with the knowledge and insights she shared with me.

    The system is over burdened and the impact of COVID has exacerbated the situation. But I encourage you to hang in there. It can get better.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  3. 112211
    112211 avatar
    3 posts
    25 February 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    Thank you so much for your reply. I admit I began to cry reading it, as it is so nice to actually be understood. To know that someone else has been in this space and felt the frustration and heartbreak this brings is truly a comfort to me. Knowing that I am not alone.

    Thank you for your advice, I have an appointment with my daughters gp tomorrow morning and will ask for a referral to a paediatrician. I seem to have no clue what I am doing and I had no idea this was an option. Given her age this is definitely my best option, as finding psychiatrists that will take on a 14 year old is so difficult. And add in the female and it’s impossible. Her gp told me at our last visit she was not able to prescribe any kind of medication and it left me feeling desperate and it is good to know that paediatricians are able to do so.

    Thank you also for the advice about seeking support for myself, I know this is something I need to do asI feel overwhelmed and always seem to say the wrong thing. I definitely need help to help her but for so long I hoped she would just turn a corner and be ok. Wishful thinking.

    I try not to blame covid and the lockdowns for her current state but it is hard not to after watching her being cut off from her friends and peers and the inability to get any kind of support that was available. Phone appointments don’t work for 14 year olds or many people for that matter when dealing with mental health.

    Once again thank you for your reply and advice, I will be forever grateful. I do hope your daughter is in a better head space now. I guess there is no quick fix and that it is a journey that is long term.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1359 posts
    26 February 2021 in reply to 112211


    I am glad that my words were able to bring you some comfort. What I would really like to do is hold your hand and tell you it will be okay—because it will.

    People unfortunately fall ill, but they also get better. No matter how bad it gets, hang on to that knowledge.

    With the right treatment most people recover from depression, anxiety and many other mental health conditions.

    My darling girl fell ill with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety and it was crushing for her and I but we got through it.

    I remember when she was in the psych ward at age 13 and I asked a nurse through my tears if she would ever get better. And the nurse told me: “yes, if you get the family support right”. That kept me going because I knew I could do that.

    Doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes, I did. Like you, I had no idea what I was doing. If our girls had cancer, the system would just take over. We would be told where to go, who to see, and the doctors would do their thing with treatments we all know and understand. Sadly, our mental health system just doesn’t work like that.

    That’s actually why I’m here. Once my daughter reached recovery, I realised the value of what I had learned. Talking with you now gives meaning to the worst experience of my life.

    I hope it went well with your GP. Don’t be afraid to find another one if it didn’t.

    I’m wondering if headspace has given your daughter a diagnosis. Would be really helpful for you to have that information.

    For what it’s worth this is how the team worked for us. Psychiatrist to make the diagnosis. Psychologist to treat. Paediatrician to manage medication. Mental health nurse to coach me. Beyond Blue support line when I needed help finding someone to help or to explain the system or just someone to talk to in the middle of the night.

    No pressure but I would be interested to know how you are going. Post any time.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  5. 112211
    112211 avatar
    3 posts
    2 March 2021 in reply to Summer Rose
    Thank you once again for your response and for caring. Thank you for turning your experience into a positive one for others like myself.

    I spoke to my daughter’s gp and we have organised a referral to a paediatrician. I am yet to hear back but hope to contact them tomorrow to find out more, ie if the referral has been accepted.

    Unfortunately my daughter’s issues had been going on for some time. A year ago I hoped it would resolve itself, as what did I know about mental health and wasn?t this difficult behaviour normal for teenagers? Was it just attention seeking or something else?

    The self harm began over a year ago, sporadic. It seemed a cry for help and I felt she was having difficulty expressing her emotions. Prior to this I had left my abusive partner (the girls only witnessed verbal abuse but the effect is profound - distrust of men and any kind of raised voices) with both my teenager girls and hoped it was just setting into a sense of safety. Looking back I think we were all adjusting to the sudden peace in our life, neither of my daughters wanted to have any contact and given their age I felt this was a choice they had a say in.

    Once covid hit and the lockdowns things went from bad to worse, my daughter was cut off from her friends and struggled with daily tasks of hygiene and eating. And she began to self-harm more frequently. I tried taking her to the gp and getting help but she was reluctant. Finally after months of this I finally got her to agree to talk to gp, although the process has been slow. Her school offered counselling but she refused to talk to them.

    In December we finally got a referral to a psychologist but the wait list was 3 months. Her first appointment is mid March.

    I understand this is the first step to help her unpack her anger and anxiety and know that this will take time.

    Recently she began self harm again so I went back to the gp to explain the debilitating effect this is having on her daily life. She has had dramatic weight loss, is disassociated from her peers and family, struggles with hygiene and self care and is either extremely angry or sad all the time. Everything I say and do is wrong.

    The ripple impact this has had on her sister and myself is devastating and I can see the need for us to also seek support.
  6. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
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    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1359 posts
    5 March 2021 in reply to 112211

    Hi 112211

    So nice to hear how you’re getting on. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the referral to the paediatrician comes through today.

    I really want to congratulate you on leaving your abusive relationship. I know that took a lot of courage and it couldn’t have been easy, but it was so important. You’re doing really well to be the best mum you can be and your girls are lucky to have you raising them.

    I know it’s gut wrenching to watch your daughter deteriorate. Just be there for her. Lots of love, small gestures of kindness and remind her that you love her no matter what.

    Validate her feelings, empathise with her pain and remind her that it can get better. Please remember that she is unwell and try not to bite if she’s lashing out at you or being difficult. (I know sometimes easier said than done)

    Conflict between the two of you is the last thing you want right now. You want to be part of her healing team. Your other daughter supporting her sister will help, too.

    bb has some great materials on the website to help you prepare for the first appointment with the psychologist. I know you’ve waited a long time but it’s really important you are satisfied this is the right person to help your daughter.

    You also need to get on with the psychologist and work out a way to communicate that respects your daughter’s privacy and keeps you in the loop.

    For me, I was invited in to the last 10 minutes of each session to be advised of progress/issues/goals.

    Kind thoughts to you

  7. Guest_206
    Guest_206 avatar
    42 posts
    8 March 2021 in reply to 112211
    Hi 112211, I've just come across your post and I'm really sorry to hear what you're going through with your daughter. Well done to you for persevering through a very frustrating mental health system and for doing what you're doing to take care of your daughter.
    I just thought I'd let you know about Carers Australia who can support you or the Carer Gateway. It sounds like you have been through a lot and you deserve to be supported too.

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