On 16 July in state Parliament, the Premier announced that Retired Justice Margaret Wilson – who presided over the Queensland Mental Health Court from 2002 to 2005 – will oversee a Commission of Inquiry into the closure of the Barrett Centre from 14 September 2014 to at least mid January 2016. The Health Minister under the previous government, (now Opposition Leader) Lawrence Springborg – who made the decision to close the Centre with promises not to abandon patients – could be compelled to give evidence.
Although this a step towards recognition for bereaved families and could bring greater understanding (and ultimately, it is hoped, better service provision) for those dealing with severe/complex adolescent mental health issues, it can never be forgotten that three young lives have been lost. We remember Talieha, Will and Caitlin and recognise that those who love them will never truly recover – whatever the future holds.
More info at http://savebarrett.org/news/
To: QLD State government – QLD Premier Campbell Newman; QLD Health Minister Lawrence Springborg; Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek
Don't close the Barrett Adolescent Centre!
Dear Queensland Government,
To close the Barrett Adolescent Centre is to deny care and support for people with mental health issues at the time when it is most critical and most traumatic. With youth suicide approaching crisis levels, now is the time to be CREATING MORE facilities to support young people dealing with the most shattering of issues. There is no question that the Barrett Centre saves lives so to close it is very likely a fatal mistake. PLEASE DO NOT deny this essential service to those in such great need. A place like the Barrett Centre is a basic requirement whose facilities should be replicated and expanded, not wiped out in the name of budget cuts. Young people and their families cannot traverse the challenges of mental illness without help and there is no other facility in Queensland that provides the long term and intensive therapy experience that is vital in reducing the suffering caused by adolescent mental illness and suicide. DO NOT CLOSE THE BARRETT CENTRE. PLEASE.
Why is this important?
The Barrett Adolescent Centre School is an inpatient Adolescent Psychiatry Unit where adolescents with severe mental health issues have access to to treatment and services to help them deal with the most serious problem they will ever face. Now a Queensland state government inquiry has been told that the Centre may close as part of Premier Campbell Newman's cost cutting agenda.
Mental illness is not something that can be dealt with by parents and friends. It requires professional help and often with an ongoing and specialised approach. With youth suicide clearly on the increase, the Commission for Children & Young People & Child Guardian reports that between 2004 and 2007:
– Queensland children and young people suicided at a rate well above the national average
– Suicide was one of the most common causes of death of Queensland children and young people
– 63% of children and young people who suicided had significant behavioural problems
– 60% of children and young people who suicided had previously stated or implied their intent
– 58% of children and young people expressed suicidal thoughts and plans, self harmed or previously attempted suicide
– 43% of children and young people who suicided had mental health problems
The Barrett Centre is clearly essential. The kind of long term and intensive therapy it provides is often the only thing that can prevent the devastation of TOO MANY families and communities who can suffer along with a young person because of a mental health issue. Institutions that house adults cannot provide the education and specialised care of the Barrett centre. Neither can paediatric wards where other young patients must also be considered.
The Barrett Adolescent Centre saves lives. To close it will almost certainly be fatal.
How it will be delivered
The petition was entered into Queensland State Parliamentary records on the 5th of March 2013 when it stood at 4,093 signatories. But people can still show their support by signing up and especially by contacting the politicians on the "Campaign Website" link (upper left).