Another boy falling through mental health gaps

By Michelle Webster
Updated November 7 2012 - 1:15am, first published November 18 2009 - 2:04pm

WAGGA boy Brayden Rowley has a good heart, a wonderful sense of humour and a generous soul � his loving mum just hopes others can see that.Annette Rowley is desperate for a diagnosis for her beautiful eight-year-old son, but having exhausted every available avenue through the NSW mental health system, is now not sure where to turn.After reading Karene Eggleton's journey in The Weekend Advertiser, the mother of four young boys felt compelled to come forward and let others know Ms Eggleton's son's struggle to find appropriate care is not an isolated one.While Brayden had displayed obvious signs of anxiety previously, his condition began to escalate in February this year, and after seeking advice from his school Ms Rowley turned to Community Mental Health for assistance.However for Brayden, the effects of the treatment offered were terrifying, and five weeks after starting a course of antidepressants he suddenly experienced his first psychotic episode."His behaviour deteriorated to the point where he got out of control and attempted to harm himself," Ms Rowley said."He felt so bad and he thought he was so bad that we would be better off without him."On one particular occasion, Ms Rowley called for an ambulance only to be informed none were available and Braydon was then escorted to hospital in the back of a police van.Ms Rowley has since decided to cease Brayden's antidepressant treatment and has subsequently seen an improvement in her child.Brayden has been through extensive testing at Ms Rowley's expense, including a cognitive assessment which determined Brayden fell into the gifted and talented category, and testing by ASPECT which revealed he is not affected by autism.Ms Rowley understands that her son does not fit neatly into any category but without a diagnosis and individualised treatment, is concerned that he has been placed in the too-hard basket."If the professionals don't know what to do what am I supposed to do?" she said.Greater Southern Area Health Service (GSAHS) chief executive Heather Gray yesterday said she was concerned that Brayden's family felt he was not receiving the level of care and treatment expected from the mental health service.Ms Gray said a senior manager from the Wagga Wagga Community Mental Health team was attempting to contact Ms Rowley today to discuss her concerns.She said the GSAHS was unable to comment publicly on individual cases.

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