Free legal representation and counselling support for all Kiwis bereaved by suicide.
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I lost my much loved son, Ross, to suicide in the mental health system due to individual and systemic failures.
Ross was only 20 years old and his death was totally preventable. My heart is broken and I can't get Ross back but I will continue to fight for other families. I care about families who have been left devastated in the aftermath and people who are struggling to have a voice in the system.
- bereaved families to have free legal and counselling support in the aftermath if their loved one received care from a state organisation.
- free legal and counselling support for people wanting to make complaints about their care if you are receiving care from a state organisation.
After Ross died we made complaints to the Southern District Health Board (SDHB), Police, Medical Council, Nursing Council, Coroner and the Health and Disability Commisioner (HDC).
It took all our strength to face the wall of resistance from the SDHB and responsible clinicians who denied that they did anything wrong. They appointed their own colleagues to investigate themselves. A joke really. We said that it wasn't natural justice. They ignored us and investigated themselves and found themselves not guilty. We appealed and yet there was no different outcome.
We tried working with the SDHB who refused to listen or support. We asked for a truth and reconciliation process and to meet with the responsible clinicians. They have never responded despite numerous requests. They never worked with us.
HDC started an investigation who handed it over to the Mental Health Commissioner and an independent expert adviser.
At this point we had to engage with a good Barrister and Solicitor in order to make sure our case was heard as it could have been thrown out due to the defensive nature of the SDHB.
After a four year long investigation HDC found breach of code 4(1) and stated that the care provided by the psychiatrist and the SDHB was a significant deviation from expected standards. This should have resulted in a referral to the Director of Proceedings and also to the Medical Council like they do with general health complaints. But it wasn't. Four years of extra pain on a grieving family was hell.
We have taken this further to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
But wait there is more.....
Five years and two months after Ross died the Police have not finished their investigations and the Coroner won't start the Coronial Inquest until this is completed.
During this time we were repeatedly traumatised as the process is very cruel and unfair.
We have faced huge fees to get good counselling in place because I was re-traumatised repeatedly. I became very suicidal during the process because of how SDHB and the clinicians treated us.
We have faced considerable legal costs because of this.
This process is not fair on grieving families. This is about voices that are often silenced by the system.
Nobody should walk alone on this journey and without free support.
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