Ray Hadley, 2GB presenter, reads a letter from a mother pleading for help for her son who suffers from behavioural disorders. Listener Leanne calls in to share her story about how her son has started to show improvements after receiving care at Redbank House.
Anonymised letter from a 17 year old young person who spent time at RIAS last year with severe suicidal problems and family relationship difficulties. The letter was written to her case manager & team 6 months after discharge.
“Dear [Case manager; A/Principal Redbank school; key nurse; teacher & rest of Redbank],
I did it! I graduated! I completed my HSC, I have a full time job, I'm off my meds and I'm living a normal, everyday life. I've applied to university and I'm waiting for my results. You guys might want to be sitting down because I have friends and I'm actually spending time with them. One more surprise, I'm even spending more than 1 hour with them!! *GASP* Haha, but in all seriousness, I'd just like to thank you for everything you did for me. Without you guys and your support, I wouldn't have been here today and I wouldn't have been the person I am. The lessons you taught me gave me the ability to make it through anything and everything. I now know how to handle my "fish" and I now can go places without someone holding my hand.
I applied for a Bachelor of Arts of Social Sciences and may go to go to Macquarie, UNWS or Sydney Uni. I'm hoping for the best but I don't know if I'll be able to do it. So fingers crossed! For the time now, I have a job at … where I'm saving up if I need to go to TAFE just to get a foundation so I can enter into the university curriculum if I don't get the ATAR I need. Mum and Dad are ecstatic and they've invited my Grandma over to come see my formal which is this Thursday. You'll of course, be getting photos of that too.
FYI - Never let your parents take photos of your graduation. Blurry photos are the result but, it's still great to have these memories!"
This letter below is written by a former patient of Redbank House. This patient suffered from depression and anxiety and discusses how Redbank House helped them through the HSC and life afterward.
I am now in my early twenties and was fortunate enough to attend Redbank on two occasions during 2003-2004 while completing my HSC.
Prior to going to Redbank I had great teachers who had supported me to enrol in my final year part-time via the pathways program. My school counsellor encouraged and monitored me, along with my Case Manager and Psychiatrist at the local community health centre. However my mental health had deteriorated to the point where dropping out of (or worse in my eyes - failing) school was a very real possibility.
I think I had been diagnosed with Depression but also suffered from anxiety and very intrusive thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
I was scared of failing my HSC but most of the time was terrified that my Depression was going to literally consume me and that I would kill myself to escape it. I began to experience some psychotic symptoms and felt lost and didn't know what to do.
I had an admission to an adult inpatient mental health facility (at age 17) just prior to my first Redbank admission. I had also been to the local Emergency Department at the hospital when I was not feeling well or safe a few times.
I came from a single parent family where my Mother had her own mental health issues that were unmanaged and we had little support or family connection.
I was frustrated with everything - myself, my mental health & feeling like I had little control over it, the health care "system", trials of various medications & appointments that I felt were not really helping.
I probably did not know it then, but I needed more support than what my Mum, my school & the structures that were already in place could provide.
When the conflict at home got worse I was offered a bed in the Redbank non-acute Unit (this meant that I could go home on weekends). This was a great help as it gave me some space and allowed me to focus on my HSC as opposed to fighting with my Mum which was one of the triggers for my self-harm.
It wasn't easy but I began to learn new skills to manage when things were tough. I also remember the kitchen staff bringing me snacks when I was studying prior to HSC exams. I knew people cared about me and wanted me to do my best.
I have always preferred to rely on myself, so initially accepting help was hard but gradually I developed trust through individual therapy for me and also Mum in addition to family therapy.
There were days when I absolutely hated myself and this included despising anyone who dared try to help me. By balancing giving me space and giving me responsibility for my health and decisions, the staff at Redbank guided me through the most difficult time of my life, and I am a better person for having experienced it.
I attended school at Redbank as well and successfully completed my HSC and gained entry into University.
I consider Redbank the place that saved my life.
My advice is to be patient with yourself (getting better takes time - starting with the basics like a good diet and getting enough sleep really helps!), try to be honest with how you are feeling & be open to new ideas (even the ones that you have tried before).
If you are a young person / family who is in a similar situation and you have the opportunity to access support from Redbank I encourage you to do it! You are not alone!