I have a 33 year old son with schizophrenia who has been living with me. He went off his meds in November which precipitated his third episode involving attempted suicide late November. He spent 5 days in a medical ward (where he received excellent care) before being transferred to the mental health unit. This wait was partially due to there being no beds available in the mental health unit. Once in the unit he was discharged barely 4 days later.
I was dumbfounded and aghast he was discharged so early and can only think this was due to demand for beds and a completely overwhelmed and underperforming mental health system. The first time I got to speak to his consulting psychiatrist was the moment he was telling me my son was to be discharged. This despite my having handed the office staff a letter outlining my desire (as carer) to be consulted (to which my son was in agreement). I know my son can be good at masking symptoms but one would assume this is what the psychiatrists are 'experts' at.
I was told that the acute care team and a case worker would ensure continued care. It was evident within days that he was still psychotic but despite alerting the acute care team, a visit to a psychiatrist attached to community health and two GP visits he remained an outpatient. He attempted suicide again a week after release.
Thankfully 'the system' seems to be taking his case more seriously this time around and I am praying for a better outcome. My son needed surgery after his suicide attempt but he was a week in a medical ward partially due to there being no beds in the mental health unit.
My question for this post is whether others have also experienced discharge of loved ones that has been way too early and do you think this is because the system is under so under-resourced (insufficient beds, staff, decent facilities) it can't operate effectively.
If you need urgent assistance, see Need help now For mental health information, guidance and referrals, see the SANE Help Centre SANE Forums is published by SANE Australia with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health SANE Australia ABN 92006533606 PO Box 226 South Melbourne 3205 Australia