What does it take?

What does it take to get a bed in this place?

Please come back dear when you have tried to kill yourself.

How many nights will that get me?

One, if you’re lucky.

What if I try to kill someone else?

Well, that will ensure you more secure accommodation

that’s for sure.

17 thoughts on “What does it take?

  1. Mental illness is an epidemic worldwide and no government has been prepared for the astronomical numbers of sick people in need of help. The problem, as I’ve observed it personally, is the need for aftercare to make sure meds are taken to control the symptoms. There is also the stigma and the number of educated people who shun or out and out humiliate sick people is shocking. On behalf of my late husband Dave, thank you for writing this agonizingly true portrait of the situation, he would have hugged you for it Gabrielle.

    1. I’d give him a hug right back if he was still with us. Aftercare is so important, especially in this day and age of de-institutionalisation, and it is sadly lacking. They took away the institutions but replaced it with barely anything. Thanks for commenting Val, and a big hug for you too 🙂

  2. Last weekend’s Weekend Australian Magazine featured a good article written by a young journalist raised as a foster child from age five whose bi-polar mother committed suicide. Suicide statistics are not made public in this country but according to Australian of the Year and psychiatrist, Patrick McGorry, one person attempts suicide every 15 minutes and one succeeds every four hours. Perhaps if more people were aware of these heart wrenching numbers surely more attention would be given to the current horrendous mental health situation?

  3. I can’t really explain how it fits, but our attitude to mental illness brings to mind the ‘running of the bulls’ in Pamplona. However. I can’t quite identify which are the ‘mad’ ones, the bulls, the idiots who invite death, or the stupidos who mix ’em up and let ’em loose!

    But, GB, remember, that’s how it used to be in domestic violence too. We had to wait until there was serious injury before the law coud act. Keep signing those petitions!

    1. That’s true Stafford, but I’m not just talking about forced treatment – many people are seeking treatment and an inpatient bed and comprehensive treatment is what they want (and what their families are crying out for). Health professionals can hardly keep up with the crisis cases let alone the rest of the mountain of people.

  4. Gosh..that was awesome!!!
    “What if I try to kill someone else?
    Well, that will ensure you more secure accommodation
    that’s for sure.” – BRILLIANT!!! Hah!
    I am pretty much speechless… what imagery!! phewww

    Have a great weekend!!

  5. So true. You might get a bed if you’re wearing a mask, wielding a chainsaw and crying out for your mummy, but even then there is no guarantee. It is shameful. So many are suffering as a result.

    1. It’s a shocking state of affairs. It’s alright if you have money and private health insurance, but not for everyone else. So many tragedies could be avoided if we had early intervention and adequate services.

  6. a suicidal poem and it’s fearsome. those were the dark halls and the shrieking hospital beds i would want to stay out, even in my memory. i imagine how you try to piece the words together to come to this. i am curious of the motivation that allowed you to pen these words. there, there is a hidden black well within you that somehow resurfaces. and it is powerful gabrielle. i just wish you safe, always.

    1. Don’t worry hames1977, this particular poem is not about me. Some of it is about my brother who is brain damaged and has mental health issues – he always falls through the cracks as far as getting any help. It’s also just a broad statement about the lack of resources in this country for the mentally ill – something that’s in the papers a lot.

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