Amelia Morris, a young woman who grew up in country Victoria, has recently told the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System about the lack of services and care she experienced when struggling with mental illness as a teenager.

When she first began to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings at age sixteen, she sought help from a psychologist and psychiatrist, but her mental health continued to deteriorate and attempted suicide.

Now 21, she has testified to the inadequacy of the public health system in providing care, as they were unable to place her in a psychiatric ward and instead had to shuttle her between inappropriate services such as an intensive care unit and a drug and alcohol ward. She eventually found a space in a private psychiatric facility.

More concerningly, at least one hospital staff member dismissed her actions as attention-seeking.

Former Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry has claimed that Amelia’s experience is indicative of a gap in the state’s mental health system, as paediatric services generally end before age 16. This leaves vulnerable older adolescents without the specialist care they require.

Professor McGorry said better treatment of people in Ms Morris’ situation was ‘a massive opportunity’ for Victoria to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

– James Bennett

Read the full article: Mental health royal commission hears suicidal young woman was ‘greeted with silence’

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