More aid needed for kids at risk

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ali­son Bald­ing

TOO many chil­dren are fall­ing through the gaps when it comes to ac­cess­ing men­tal health sup­port, ac­cord­ing to Mt Druitt Learn­ing Ground pro­ject man­ager Deb­bie Hig­gi­son.

In re­sponse to the death of a 10-year-old in­dige­nous girl in re­mote Western Aus­tralia at the start of the month, Ms Hig­gi­son told The Stan­dard more needed to be done to help chil­dren and their fam­i­lies as early as pos­si­ble.

Ms Hig­gi­son has spent close to 10 years help­ing to steer trou­bled youth back to school. The fo­cus – un­til re­cently – was only on high school chil­dren but Ms Hig­gi­son said she and her team knew there was a need for ear­lier in­ter­ven­tion.

She said too many chil­dren were fall­ing through the gaps, with very lim­ited op­tions of­fer­ing sup­port to trou­bled pre-teens. “There is noth­ing for that age group: we’ve seen kids aged eight, nine and 10 cry­ing out for help,” Ms Hig­gi­son said.

She said not all chil­dren even knew how to dis­cuss sui­cide and didn’t want to bur­den par­ents. “We’ve had some kids draw a pic­ture or say some­thing, and all we can do is let their par­ents know,” Ms Hig­gi­son said.

“Even then the only op­tion for par­ents is to get a re­fer­ral to a pae­di­a­tri­cian.”

If you are aged 5-25 and would like to talk, call Kids Helpline free on 1800 55 1800.

Deb­bie Hig­son from Learn­ing Ground.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.