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The state of our Mental Health system

nyssa76 13 November 2005 33

As I write this, I am appalled and severely pissed off by the ACT Mental Health Crisis and Assessment Team.

A friend has just called me to inform me that when she rang them – as she was self harming – the person’s response on the other end of the phone was basically “your psychologist is taking your money, he doesn’t care”.

Nice to know huh?

Last week my friend was told (during another crisis) by another CAT team member that she “had to go now”, minutes later my friend OD’d.

WTF is going on with this damn system? Do people seriously have to take their own lives before the system is checked?

So, as I sit here now, awaiting another phone call…..mind you it’s now 12:20am….I ponder the reason why we even have a CAT team in the first place. Apparently there is a team called “mit” (sp?) and they are a hell of a lot better but on the ACT Health website, they don’t even get a mention. Anyone know who they are or have a contact number?

People are always bagging out teachers for their apparent “lack of duty of care” so why in the hell aren’t CAT being crucified? Surely the money being spent on CAT could be put to better use by hiring people who actually give a shit?

Ok….I’m off my soap box now.

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33 Responses to The state of our Mental Health system
el el 1:56 pm 13 Nov 05

Well nyssa76, if it’s any consolation you’re not alone. I won’t go into too much depth about my frustration at ACT Mental Health services, I’ll leave it at saying a lady I know suffering schizophrenia was able to walk out the door at the psych ward and ended up at Canberra airport with a one way ticket to a nearby pacific island (this was just a couple of weeks after the Cornelia Rau (sp?) debacle.)

Not to mention the f*ckarse travel agent that made her sign a form indemnifying them from responsibility because she was “acting strangely”.

Never heard anything of the “mit” team, if you find anything please post deails.

The govt can talk all they want about improving funding and services to mental health, but I’ll only believe it when I see it.

gingermick gingermick 9:09 pm 13 Nov 05

What does your idiot friend reach for first, the neeedle or the phone?

nyssa76 nyssa76 9:23 pm 13 Nov 05

Idiot? So you are basically calling ANYONE with a mental illness an idiot?

Take a good look in the mirror mate. Our taxes AREN’T paying for a great service. They are paying for a piss-weak one.

FYI, most people with a mental illness don’t reach for the needle (note spelling), and some have the courage to reach for the phone so as to get some help moron. It’s a shame that 50% of the people on the other end are dickheads.

You obviously don’t know anyone with a mental illness and thank fuck for that.

nyssa76 nyssa76 7:16 am 14 Nov 05

FYI, you can OD on prescription medication and even panadol – which ruins your liver if it is not “flushed” out with saline asap.

Special G Special G 7:31 am 14 Nov 05

The CAT team are a waste of oxygen. PSU (psych unit) at Canberra Hospital are not any better. Never heard of mit though.

I am not surprised that your friend has troubles getting decent help.


Thumper Thumper 7:44 am 14 Nov 05

I totally agree Nyssa. I’ve had someone say to me ‘What do you want us to do about it?’ when I’ve rung them about a person I know.

And I’ve had the cops say to me, ‘forget it, unless you think your Jesus and you are redeeming the world with a sword, then they couldn’t care less’. Or at least, words to that effect.

And yet, even with this situation having been the norm for many a year, and I blame the previous government as well, the current government is quite happy to pay lip service whilst burying their collective heads in the sand.

Its appalling.

gingermick gingermick 8:31 pm 14 Nov 05

No, nys, I’m not basically calling ANYONE with a mental illness an idiot. I’m calling YOUR FRIEND an idiot. Oh well, seeing I’m in form, I may as well add that anyone with such an idiot for a friend must also be in the same category.

Is your idiot friend dead yet?

I think the spelling is OK. Please advise.

nyssa76 nyssa76 8:44 pm 14 Nov 05

NEEEDLE – your spelling. There isn’t 4 E’s in needle.

You are as compassionate as a dead horse. You can call me an idiot all you like. However, I can actually pass judgment on CATT, can you?

I hope to God you never have a family member or friend with a mental illness. Then again, you might actually grow a brain and realise how serious it is.

My friend isn’t dead yet. She has supportive friends and family. Luckily she doesn’t have you as one.

Why are you still here arguing with your idiotic diatribe? Your obvious disregard for human life demonstrates that you should 1) go back to God and ask him for a heart and 2) go back to school and actually learn about mental illness and its effect on a person and their family and friends.

FYI, it’s nyssa76.

gingermick gingermick 9:04 pm 14 Nov 05

Nys, nys, nys! I’m using the diminutive as a term of affection as I’m starting to feel strangely attracted to you. You are correct. There isn’t 4 Es in needle; and there aren’t 4 either. Maybe I was thinking about a really BIG neeeedle. Nah, I won’t get away with that.

No, I’m not a judgemental type (judge mental, oh deary me!) I’m also not too sure what a CATT is. Please explain.

We are getting a bit Wizard of Ozish, what with me not having a heart or a brain. I am now staring to imagine you in Judy Garland’s Dorothy dress, albeit with a fag hanging out of your mouth.

Getting excited. Must go, nys.

Till later.

nyssa76 nyssa76 9:52 pm 14 Nov 05

CATT is the CRISIS AND ASSESSMENT TEAM. I mentioned it before.

Grow up you imbecile. You’re lack of intelligence on this matter only proves how ignorant you are.

It’s nyssa76, that’s my name. No one calls my nys. There are several alternates to your name that spring to mind, but maturity is winning through.

Now go to bed little one.

gingermick gingermick 7:36 pm 15 Nov 05

Nyssy,just quickly – 1. Maybe CAT not CATT is the CRISIS AND ASSESSMENT TEAM. 2. Perhaps “your” not “you’re” before “lack”. 3. How about “me nys” instead of “my nys”. But enough of this sniping over spelling and grammar. How about an update on Crazy Horse? She necked herself yet?

nyssa76 nyssa76 8:34 pm 15 Nov 05

How’s about an update on why you obviously have no friends? Since you feel the need to make jokes about someone who is not mentally well. Grow up ADFA puke.

Their acronym – as per their website, states CATT. Ask them what the second ‘T’ means.

nyssa76 nyssa76 8:36 pm 15 Nov 05

Now, for those that are actually interested, my friend has been told not to contact CATT anymore, but rather to ring Lifeline. Apparently, when that idiot was discussing the psychologist, ethical issues were breached. Nice to know huh?

I wonder if they shred their files before they have them shipped off to the tip.

Thumper Thumper 8:15 am 16 Nov 05

Sounds fairly normal for them. As much as we get reassurances from the government that they are “looking into” and “addressing issues”, nothing ever changes.

No accountability, no probity. Why does it always take a tragic death to get someone to actually do something.

Hope your friend is okay.


LurkerGal LurkerGal 10:38 am 16 Nov 05

Good luck Nyssa. Mental illness is hard to deal with, all you can do is be there for her, which it sounds like you are doing.

And Ginger? Tosser? It is an ILLNESS. If Nyssa’s friend had cervical cancer, would she be an idiot? If she had epilepsy? Or how about if she had MS? It’s the same fucking thing. It’s an ILLNESS! Fucktard.

nyssa76 nyssa76 1:49 pm 16 Nov 05

LG, well said. 🙂

Thumper, she’s doing ok for now. But as you know, it’s one day at a time.


enigma enigma 1:55 pm 16 Nov 05

She (lets call her Kylie) doesn’t have an illness Kylie has Borderline Personality Disorder which is a (DSM-IV) Axis 2 disorder so it is technically a mental dysfunction not a mental illness. Kylie does not have a Major Depressive Episode or a Generalised Anxiety Disorder although she may have a low mood or anxiety as part of her chronically labile affect. Hospitalisation or emergency responses are contra-indicated in BPD (as you should know from the peer reviewed literature) so inaction by CATT is therapeutic (counter-intuitive I know), making a production out of Kylies self-harming/self-mutilation reinforces this maladaptive coping mechanism. By buying into Kylie’s behaviour you reinforce it, so you are doing your friend a disservice. With a prevalence 2% and that BPD is not an illness rather a dysfunction (so you don’t get better although symptoms can abate) this means there are 6000 BPD people in the ACT, as chronic self harm is a common if not the most common symptoms this probably means that 200-500 people will self harm each day in the ACT, no Govt system is equipped to deal with this (even if emergency response/hospitalisation was indicated for BPD which it is not). Most sensible people (oxymoron) with BPD self harm and then head down to their GP to be stitched up. Panadol overdoses are not treated by flushing with saline. The treatment, (if required) is an IV infusion of Paravalax which binds the paracetamol in the blood stream and prevents liver damage while the normal excretion processes take place. No surprise that Kylie’s psychologist Doesn’t want Kylie calling CATT as she can see one of her cash cows getting slaughtered if Kylie starts getting advice as to what the evidenced based treatment for BPD is (which is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy). It would be unethical for a clinician not to advise a patient if it was found that the patient wasn’t being treated in an evidenced based manner or otherwise incompetently. And Kylie’s therapist doesn’t care about her as one would about family or friends she cares in the professional sense, big difference. Her psychologist cares that she is doing a good job that’s professional, caring about her as one cares about family and friends would demonstrate a marked lack of professional boundaries and would be unethical (you don’t have to like your patients to treat them effectively). The list of inaccuracies in this discourse is too long to any where near fully address but this is a (small) start. Also hoping that someone had suicide so that a CATT worker would get in trouble is ungenerous to say the least (re the comment in the police in Hawker post).
It’s not Kylie’s fault she has BPD (if you want to blame someone, blame the guy that sexually abused her as a child) and the good news is that in many cases symptoms spontaneously remit as the person enters their fourth decade. Treatment with DBT is also successful, but the disorder is not cured rather the person uses psychological strategies to reduce the expression of symptoms. Get a Boundary
CATT Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team
MIT Mobile Intensive Treatment Team (generally (but not exclusively)for patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders who need high level support, not a crisis service except for patients that are already on their books, does not operate 24 hours a day).

nyssa76 nyssa76 2:05 pm 16 Nov 05

enigma, she has been diagnosed with Major Depressive disorder and has registered high for stress, anxiety, depression and agresssion. She has OD’d twice on anti-depressants – once mixed with panadol and a non anti-depressant medication. She has self mutilated over 12 times. There are no beds in 2N and I wouldn’t send a wounded dog to PSU. She’s been “borderline” (CATT’s words not mine) to go to PSU three times in the past 3 months.

She doesn’t have BPD – which is a joke in it’s clarification anyway.

The psychologist ISN’T being paid. He is working pro bono until the Comcare claim goes through – I didn’t want to get into many details over this but your post has prompted me to do so.

So by being there for her, I am helping her.

nyssa76 nyssa76 3:32 pm 16 Nov 05

enigma, after just speaking to my friend, she has also informed me that the idiot from CATT that she spoke to also stated that my friend could ring the Rape Crisis Centre for help.

Now, this is a person who hasn’t been raped and my question is: Why would they be referring her to Rape Crisis?

The CATT member is an idiot and should be sacked.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 4:36 pm 16 Nov 05

Sounds like the only people the CATT operator didn’t suggest your friend call was Telstra Directory Assistance. She’d probably get more appropriate advice if she rang Telstra; and that’s really saying something!

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