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"Lack of support and staff knowledge"

About: MHERL - Mental Health Emergency Response Line

(as a service user),

I called the Ruralink number (given to me by my local mental health service) while on holiday in a metro area. I asked to be put through to the local community mental health services as this was what was listed on the website as being the option during business hours. I waited 20 minutes to talk to someone as most staff were busy. I felt the person I talked to had no compassion at all and had poor knowledge of bipolar disorder and hypomanic episodes. They tried to tell me my hypomanic symptoms were an anxiety attack. I hung up as the call was causing me to feel worse. 

Another staff member later called me back, I felt they also provided poor support. What I believe should have happened is both staff members should have acknowledged my concerns were outside their expertise, as in my opinion they clearly were. My private Psychiatrist (who only works one day a week so I was unable to contact them) acknowledged that my symptoms were part of a hypomanic episode so as I understand it the staff member who reported this was an anxiety attack was very, very wrong.

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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 15/11/2022 at 6:16 PM
Published on Care Opinion on 16/11/2022 at 9:46 AM

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear herculesm84

It was disappointing to read your story on Care Opinion when calling the Rurallink service and that you felt you did not receive compassionate care. The service is designed to keep individuals safe during a mental health crises and to connect them with the appropriate support services. We always strive to provide the best care to our patients and the community, and it is disappointing that this was not your experience.

I was also deeply sorry to learn that you felt your concerns fell outside of the mental health clinician’s area of expertise. Your story has been shared with the Rurallink team and will be used to form part of the continuing education and improvement in the delivery of this service. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Without knowing your particular details or which local community mental health service you engaged with, it is difficult to comment further; however I would like to invite you to contact the Consumer Engagement Unit on 9224 1637 or email: who can look into this matter further for you.

Thank you for letting us know of your experience so that we can learn and improve the care we deliver to our patients and the community.

Kind regards

Dr Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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