Australians for Mental Health

Australians for Mental Health

Did you catch Vanessa Kenny’s compelling story about her family’s struggle getting access to mental health services over the weekend?

In a very blunt and powerful open letter to the Australian people — particularly politicians and other decision-makers — Vanessa charts what it is like to love a child with complex mental health needs.

You can read Vanessa’s letter in full here.

“The health system, their executives and our own Ministers likes to say that he “fell through the cracks”.  This is not true.  This is a system that is designed to fail.  Designed to push somebody onto another public service so that they do not have to address the issues at hand” she writes.

“We have endured accusations of domestic violence simply because our son needed us to restrain him during neurological episodes, an act necessary to prevent self-harm.  We’ve witnessed the havoc wrought by potent medications, rendering our home unsafe for all.  Like Cauchi’s family we’ve hidden sharp objects, transforming our household into a battleground where safety is a fleeting illusion.”

“Amidst the despair, I would like to think there’s a glimmer of hope—a call to action for greater empathy, for a society that sees beyond the surface and acknowledges the humanity in us all. It’s a call to recognise that behind every headline lies a story, a struggle, a life worth fighting for.”

These are stories that need to be heard: that’s the only way change will be possible.  In coming forward, Vanessa is taking a stand for her family, and we stand with her.

If you have experience trying to access the mental health system, either for yourself or someone you love, and would be willing to work with me to engage politicians with our stories, I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll be holding a Zoom call next Tuesday evening, 7 May at 5:30pm Sydney time.  If you’d like to join in please RSVP here.

If you’d like to be involved but can’t make that time, please let me know by clicking here.

Chris Gambian
Executive Director
Australians for Mental Health