Bridging the gap

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Last updated: 25/07/2023

Adult with intrusive suicidal thoughts failed by mental health services

Introduction: This case study examines the experience of a distressed and suicidal adult living in a regional town who faced significant challenges in accessing timely mental health support. The individual eventually sought assistance from IMPACT Community Services. The case study highlights the barriers encountered by the individual and the steps taken by IMPACT to address them, ultimately leading to the client’s successful recovery and relocation.

Case Description: The adult, residing in a regional town, embarked on a 3 hour drive seeking help at the nearest Mental Health Unit. Unfortunately, they were turned away and referred to another community organisation, which also denied assistance, citing that they lived out of their catchment area. This rejection left the individual (and their partner) feeling hopeless and further exacerbated their distress. Recognising the urgency of the situation, a Mental Health Support Worker from IMPACT engaged with the individual the day they presented and continued their support the following day.

Challenges Faced: One of the significant challenges encountered by the individual was the extended wait time to access professional mental health services. Despite any immediate referral from IMPACT for evaluation, the adult would have to endure up to a 7-week wait to secure an appointment with a psychologist. This delay in care, coupled with their distressed and vulnerable mental state, added to their distress and increased the risk of self-harm.

Intervention and Support: IMPACT Community Services played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the individual and mental health services. Recognising the urgency, IMPACT de-escalated the client ensuring their immediate safety and stabilisation, established a safety plan, supported their access to the nearest Mental Health Unit (+/-150kms) managing their expectations and promoting their ongoing engagement and access to treatment and medication. The Mental Health Support Worker also supported the individual throughout their relocation process, recognising the potential benefits of a change in environment for their overall wellbeing.

Outcome: Through the unwavering support provided by IMPACT and their partner, the adult successfully navigated the challenges they faced. The combination of ongoing engagement with a Mental Health Support Worker, access to treatment, and engagement with a appropriate services led to the individual’s improved mental health. With the support of IMPACT, the individual made the decision to move out of the region, providing a fresh start and additional opportunities for growth.

Conclusion: This case study underscores the critical importance of accessible and responsive mental health services, particularly in regional areas where resources may be limited. Despite initial rejections and lengthy wait times, the individual in this case found solace and recovery through the timely intervention and support provided by IMPACT. This case highlights the significance of non-clinical support in filling gaps in mental health care and the potential positive outcomes when individuals receive comprehensive support tailored to their needs.

This further emphasises the need for continued efforts to improve mental health care accessibility and reduce barriers to timely intervention in regional communities.

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