Image: Shannai Pearce (Facebook/The Black Dog Institute).
Shannai Pearce was just 14 when she made an attempt on her life.
Considering the severity of the situation, let alone the fact she was only a child, you’d imagine Pearce’s case would be treated with the utmost care and sensitivity. However, social workers accused her of “attention seeking”, and when she was taken to hospital she was given a script for sleeping tablets before being discharged.
“I didn’t see a psychiatrist – nobody. Then my case worker came to pick me up and take me to a youth refuge, where they said I would lose my accommodation if I self-harmed again,” Pearce, now in her 20s, tells the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I never heard from the hospital after that. I just got a bill for the ambulance a couple of months later.”
This story is horrifying, but a new report released by the Black Dog Institute suggests it’s not necessarily uncommon among Australians who have presented to health services following a suicide attempt.
The study, the first of its kind, found many patients in this situation have been met with negative or disinterested attitudes, anger and irritation from medical staff.