Sign to Support Camilleri Family
Sign to Support Camilleri Family
I rarely ever seek support and have never done something this publicly, but right now our family needs you to please sign our petition and share. I’m here asking you all to do this to help my son Nicholas.
For those who may not know it’s deeply personal to share but the time has come and as my son and I are being forced into a situation that will have disastrous consequences. My son has spent a large part of the last 3.5 years in public mental health facilities. This is not due to anything he has done wrong in his life, my son is a sweet, loving 19 year old, who loves his family and his mates. In fact it is because his brain cannot cope after suffering significant trauma as a teenager at the hands of others.
Over these years that feel like a lifetime, I’m the one that has been there pacing hospital floors during admissions and scans, spending long days and even longer nights in short stay units with my son. I am the one visits him each day, during every admission, making sure he has everything he needs. I am the Mum who was given no warning when I bought him home from hospital and he woke up some mornings not knowing who he was. I held him while he was scared and confused, I reassured him along the way and I backed off and gave him space. I have been whatever he has needed me to be. What he has held onto throughout the most challenging times, is the feeling of safety which he feels with me. He looks to me to advocate for him, even when nothing else makes sense. This is not something that should be controlled by anybody else. It is just as it should be, I will only ever act in his best interests. I AM HIS MUM and he has an entire family!
So much has happened in the years between the first admission 3.5 years ago and today, but the one thing that he’s always voiced he needs, is me, and I have always been there for him, no matter what. If he’s needed me to do something I’ve always done it in a way that was in his best interest. I never felt the need to apply to a court to have legal control over his life and decisions, because even when he’s really unwell he will always look to me asking for my help. No one ever doubted this was best for him until.....
Thursday morning just gone, I went to take my son breakfast in to hospital on my way to work. He is currently in an inpatient mental health facility in South Australia. When I arrived at the ward, I was met by one of the hospital’s psychiatrists who asked if I had a moment to talk, I explained I was on my way to workand he said it wouldn’t take long. I headed to a tiny room where I have headed many times over the last couple of years. As he began talking I quickly noticed his demeanour seemed very different to previous discussions, his tone was also different. I could sense him trying assert his power over me even as he asked‘so what would you suggest happens next with your son?’
I suggested, when he felt ready and if he wanted to, my husband and I were offering he live in the home we own that we know he is comfortable in and very attached to, as he always returns there. I also stated as he has aNDIS plan, we will be organising other support servicesthrough this. I did explain we would need a little time to prepare this, as there can be lengthy wait times to get support.
No more than a moment later, this psychiatrist’s manner turned aggressive, and he jumped down my throat very unexpectedly. He declared that in several days my son needed to be out of his hospital and suggested a men’shomeless shelter or another similar arrangement could be made. I immediately understood this is about freeing up beds and meeting hospital KPIs. No consideration was given as to the care my son required, sadly, this is an all too common scenario and a reflection of a very broken system that is failing our most vulnerable. Nowit’s happening to my beautiful son. The psychiatrist thenwent on to say that he would be lodging an application for an independent legal guardian for my son and to have his finances taken over by the public trustee. This means my son could no longer turn to me to support him to make life decisions. Where he lived, what medication he takes, what services he accesses, what doctor he sees and when, what he spends his money on, even what he does with his free time, all of this would be determined by someone he has never met and who knows nothing about him.
I do not have unrealistic expectations of my son’s care. In fact, everything I request is well and truly within the parameters of the mental health act and based onensuring his basic human rights are met. However, my son and I are now being punished for our advocacy toensure his rights and needs are met when he is in the care of State Government mental health facilities
My son was in the that room on Thursday when the psychiatrist told me he was applying to have an order made for an independent legal guardian reside overhim. The day after my son left the hospital and walked for 2.5 hours, to a police station. He was seeking assistance to protect him from the hospital staff who had taken away his access to me. I got a call from an officer at the station saying, he had walked into the police station sunburnt, dehydrated and in distresssaying ‘please call my Mum, the hospital are trying to take her away from me and I don’t feel safe there.’ That day the hospital had confiscated his phone and refused to let him call me. I had not had a chance to discuss what the psychiatrist had said to me the day before, I was in such a state of shock myself. My son has obviously been left feeling scared and confused that he was going to lose me..
I cannot for the life of me, understand why they are doing this to my son. I asked the psychiatrist to explain how taking away my right to be his mum and to help him make important decisions in his life, by putting an independent legal authority in place could ever be in my son’s best interest. The psychiatrist had no answer, but also no intention to back down. He has not taken my son’s wellbeing and best interests into account and we have been left without any real details or proper explanation. You see my son is not a person to these doctors like he is to me. To them he is just another name on a caseload that they are wanting to get out the door to free up a bed.
I could write a book exposing all the breaches of the mental health act I’ve documented over the years when it comes to my son’s care. Yes, I question things when I see breaches and injustice, however I also collaborate with his medical team to make his care much easier for staff and have done so on countless occasions. Whilst in State Government mental health facilities, my son has been punched in his head, he’s had knives thrownat him, they have over medicated him (and many others) until he can barely move. For too long I have been publicly silent on the poor standard of care, the constant abuse of power, the breaches of the mental health act and of human rights, plus a million more things.. Instead, I have thrown myself into paid and volunteer roles to support positive change in the system, not only for my son, but for everyone. And now I can add bullying a loved one to my list of abuse and misuse of power within that system. I expect this latest attack was done in the hope of instilling enough fear in me that I would back off and allow them to continue to mistreat and neglect my son without question.
My family and I won’t let that happen, but we can’t do it alone.
Please help us stop State Government mental health services from taking away Nicholas’ right to have his family support him to manage his affairs and makedecisions that impact his day-to-day life. It so important Nicholas to continue to manage his life with the love and support of his family. If you’ve read this far you are an absolute champion, so please take a minute to signand share