"my partner was so discouraged from seeking help"

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a friend),

I admitted to Box Hill hospital with my partner who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, and who had been recommended to be admitted immediately by their doctor due to suicidal thoughts, and had a letter stating this. We were told after triage that there would be a minimum 2 hour wait to be looked at by mental health. This hurt my partner so much as they explained to me that it is so hard to get any help when your illness isn't treatable like a broken leg. It is my understanding that when someone presents with the intention to kill themselves that they are to be admitted immediately. Instead my partner was so discouraged from seeking help and so disappointed that they felt no one there wanted to even help. We simply went home where at least I could keep them safe and away from harm. It really didn't help hearing the people in the waiting room talking about how they (obviously very jaundiced) had been there since mid morning, and we got there early in the evening.

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Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear ahstysvaer

First of all, thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion and let me say how sorry I am to read that we have fallen short of meeting your and your partner's needs at the time you most needed us.

I am unsure as to what was happening in the Emergency Department at the time of your visit but I am keen to take up your issue and understand how we can learn from it and perhaps even change our systems to do better and to prevent a recurrence.

I have already spoken to our Director of Mental Health Services at Eastern Health, Mr Paul Leyden and Paul would be more than happy to talk to you about your experience and to see what we can learn from this. Paul is available on email at paul.leyden@easternhealth.org.au

In the meantime, I am keen to ensure that you can also get the help you need and would suggest that if you or your partner would like to talk to one of our clinical staff, then please call our Mental Health Triage line on 1300 721 927 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Once again, I am really sorry that you had this experience with us and I do hope that you will make contact with Paul so that we can learn from your unfortunate experience. However, thank you for taking the time to share your story to help us improve our systems and our care.

I hope that you will see that we are taking your feedback seriously and look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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