Advocate Stories

Story 1:

A middle aged father of an adult daughter with mental illness rang to ask for advice. Their adult daughter was unwell and she had taken out an AVO against her father due to her belief that he might come to hurt her. The parents were shocked and had never had any dealings with the police or court and were highly embarrassed and worried about their reputation in a small town.

I found information for them about AVOs and about the court proceedings. We also met with a local police officer to ask more questions. The parents asked the policeman if there was a support person to help them through the court proceedings, but there was not. I offered to attend the court with the parents (as I could also learn myself!). It took 3 hours but the outcome was positive even though the AVO remained (much harder to fight it than to just abide by it for the duration set by the court).

With encouragement from the mother, the daughter began to see her counselor and care coordinator at Community Mental Health more regularly and has since repaired her relationship with her father. Her mental illness is being managed more effectively. The daughter and her family were referred to Family Support for counselling and support and play groups for the mum and the younger children.

One year later, the daughter is now working part time, has a very good relationship with her parents and is working on improving her relationship with her husband through Centacare Counselling. The parents have attended the Assisting Families workshops to learn more about mental illness and the carer role and are happy to know there is someone they can call when things become a challenge.

Story 2:

A mother of a young adult attending university in a city far away from home, rang me, the Carer Advocate in her small rural city. She was very worried about her daughter. The boyfriend had rung her that morning about her daughter's very low moods and that she was self harming. The carer could not travel due to having other smaller children at home and needed to find help right away and to let the boyfriend know where to take her.

I found their nearest Community Mental Health unit and the number for the daughter to ring to discuss what was happening to her. If that didn't work well, I found the nearest Headspace to their suburb and gave the details to the boyfriend. I also spoke to the boyfriend about getting some support for himself through a carer support service and again found an organisation in his area and linked him to this service.

The daughter had not wanted her mother to know any of this, but the boyfriend knew he needed help. He promised he would let the mother/carer know more after they got her some help. I rang the mother a week later to check on how things were going. The boyfriend and her daughter had chosen to go to Headspace and she was getting counselling, and so far, was relieved to be getting help.