MENTAL HELP BREAKDOWN Boy, 11, Left in Limbo; SYSTEM FAILS BOY WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

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BREAKDOWN Boy, 11, left in limbo; SYSTEM FAILS BOY WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS. E2 I-2PPG-2010SEP17-5-1 LI English LX N/A SB Suicidal behavior DC Suicidal behaviour UT MENTAL HELP BREAKDOWN Boy, 11, left in limbo; SYSTEM FAILS BOY WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS. 1K Grafton Base Hospital ZT HEA FT FULL TEXT CP COPYRIGHT 2010 APN Newspapers Pty Ltd. FL 00038 WC 451 LP Byline: TIM HOWARD tim.howard@dailyexaminer.com.au

THE Mental Health Unit at Grafton Base Hospital has turned its back on an 11-year-old boy who has thoughts of killing himself.

The mother of the boy, who has asked to remain nameless, contacted the unit after her son's mental health deteriorated.

The boy had been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, but by early August had become depressed and compiled a list of ways to kill himself. He took a low dose of a well-known anti-depressant to treat the problem.

On August 24, the boy disclosed these feelings to his father and next day the family contacted Dr Chris Wever, who agreed the child was depressed and increased his dosage of the anti-depressant. He said the boy would also need to see a psychiatrist regularly, but it was not viable to travel 3.5 hours each way to see him.

The child's family has a history of suicidal behaviour through three generations and research has shown there is a genetic tendency toward suicide.

The mother phoned the Grafton Mental Health Unit and during the conversation a social worker in the unit said the boy should see a child psychiatrist. …