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"Care in a mental health emergency"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a carer),

I took my young adult child into RPH emergency department in the evening recently with acute anxiety and suicide ideation. The ED did not seem too busy at the time and my child was triaged within 5 minutes. We were told it would be about an hour’s wait.

We waited for a number of hours and over that time my child became increasingly agitated and distressed. I approached a different nurse on 3 separate occasions expressing my concern for my child's safety but they told me my child just had to wait. I asked if there was anywhere else I could take them and they indicated not. One nurse told me I was welcome to leave but couldn’t advise where to go.

I had to physically restrain my child, who is a young adult, on a number of occasions when they wanted to run out of the ED as it was so overwhelming with bright lights, people, noise, patients vomiting etc. I even called the suicide line, but they said they couldn’t help.

After 5 hours in the waiting room we were finally called into the ED. My child was now in a hyper-anxious state. We were taken to a cubicle in ED where we waited another 3 hours to eventually be seen by psychiatric staff. Another 2 hours later to be seen by an ED doctor and finally be admitted to hospital. That is 10 hours after entering the ED.

What a shocking ordeal to experience for someone in an acute mental state (and for me as their carer). It was extremely fortunate that I was there to support them (as they normally live on their own). Without me to restrain and support them, I believe my child would have without doubt fled the situation and attempted to take their own life because ‘no one cares’.

Clearly, in my opinion, the emergency mental health system in WA is completely broken. How many young lives are lost, and will continue to be lost because there seems to be such woeful support for mental health? 

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Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group 2 months ago
Lesley Bennett
Executive Director,
Royal Perth Bentley Group
Submitted on 29/09/2021 at 16:45
Published on Care Opinion at 16:46

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear ActionRequired,

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of your experience. I am saddened to hear what happened for you and your adult child when you attended the Emergency Department at Royal Perth Hospital. Having a sick child of any age is worry enough, and I acknowledge that the wait and interaction with our staff added to you and your adult child’s distress.

I am sorry that you and your adult child had to wait longer than you were initially told. I understand that you had to physically restrain them without input or help from our staff. I recognise that the environment worsened their symptoms and they became overwhelmed; and would like to pass on my unreserved apologies that we did not do more for you or your adult child earlier.

I would like to offer you the opportunity of discussing your concerns further so we can investigate the matter thoroughly and ensure this does not happen to anyone else. I would encourage you to contact the Consumer Engagement Unit on (08) 9224 1637, 8am to 4pm or email

We endeavour to deliver a high standard of patient-centred care and am very sorry that we let you and your adult child down. Your adult child is indeed fortunate to have your support and I wish them well for their recovery.

Kind Regards,

Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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