Don’t get mentally ill in the NT


The mental health system in the NT really is crap. Why, I don’t know or I would have fixed it by now, but I can give you one example of what’s wrong.
Consider the case of the 15 year old girl from a remote community in the NT, flown to Darwin after being “sectioned” under the mental health act following a threaten suicide incident. Living hundreds of kilometers from Darwin, and coming from an extremely disfunctional family that has a history of dope abuse, this girls story, whilst far from unique is by no means any less tragic.
After fighting with her father who roughed her up because he thought she stole his ganja, this vulnerable child took a rope and headed down to the river bank where she was found by someone concerned enough to alert the community nurse (the only medical professional for hundreds of kilometers) before she could put it to use. Concerned that the child would not get the support or treatment she needed in her community, the nurse “sectioned” her in order to get her to Darwin for more definative care. After arriving in Darwin a day later, the child was kept for nearly four hours in a little room without windows, guarded by two security guards before anyone from mental health services came to assess her. Bear in mind that they were notified a day earlier that she was coming.
Wrong? You’d think so, but it’s normal here.
How about the guy who called an ambulance because he’d “had enough” and asked for help. He has a history of depression and suicidal tendancy and was armed with a knife when we got to him. He spet 9 hours sitting in the little room waiting for a mental health professional to speak with him. By the time someone did turn up, he was so sick of waiting that his faith in the system that was meant to help him had faded. He asked to be discharged and he went home. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again soon under less favourable circumstances.


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