Cathy* aged 73, has supported her daughter, Laura,* who lives with mental illness, for many years. She has not been able to gain access to public mental health services for Laura in the regional area where they live, and years of battling to get help have worn her down.
I first took my daughter to get psychological support when she was 13 years old, she is now 45 years old and I am at the end of my tether. She’s not really my daughter anymore; I love her but I don’t know her anymore.
Laura also has a substance use problem, which has intensified over the years from marijuana to ice. This has made navigating support services even more difficult.
We have tried rehabs […] once discharged from these services the support was almost non-existent. As her mother I am expected to be her complete support system, which at my age is just not feasible.
Cathy highlights the struggles and expectations put on families. The current system depends on families doing the heavy lifting of navigating and advocating for supports, especially when individuals are unable or unwilling to do this themselves.
In Cathy’s opinion, support for families that want to help their loved ones is lacking.
I know there are many people out there going through what I am, it’s hard on both parties, but families need better support so that we can be there for our family member. People like me go through so much trauma, it really takes its toll on your health. We need support services specifically for families, so we have someone to talk to, to connect with, who understands what we are experiencing.
I love my daughter and I want the best for her. Before the mental illness and drugs took over, we had a good relationship. I miss that person. I have lost someone important in my life, to drugs and mental illness because the supports weren’t there when we asked again and again for help.
Source: Interim Report, November 2019
Note: *Names have been changed to protect privacy.