‘No help at all’ for daughter
Six months before she died, Ariana Reedy had tried to take her life twice in one week.
Still, she was passed from one mental health service to another in the months leading up to her death, her mother says.
On August 15, Ariana, 15, caught a taxi from Hastings to Napier near the Bluff Hill lookout area. Her body was found the next day, and the case is now before the coroner.
Every night since then, Hana Reedy has thought about her daughter before going to sleep. ‘‘I’m in the taxi with her, I’m on Bluff Hill with her ... it’s impossible to stop thinking about it.’’
Speaking publicly for the first time since her daughter’s death, Hana Reedy said her daughter was not offered enough support and services failed her.
Reedy said ‘‘there was no help at all’’ and she and her family were sent from ’’somebody to somebody to somebody’’ as they fought to get Ariana the help she needed.
Despite telling those assessing her daughter that there was a history of serious mental illness in the family, Ariana’s diagnosis was ‘‘behavioural problems’’.
While Reedy had had trouble with Ariana in the past, before she began to have mental health problems she was a happy girl. ‘‘She was a girl who would get along with anybody, she always had a smile on her face.’’
The first time Ariana tried to take her life, she was taken to Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s children’s ward and placed under 24-hour watch for two nights before being sent home, and given access to a counsellor through the Hawke’s Bay DHB’s Child, Adolescent and Family Service.
Six days later she tried again. She was again put in the children’s ward under constant surveillance for two nights.
The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board said it could not comment, for privacy reasons.
Reedy said she was told there was a bed for her daughter in a facility in Wellington, and thought Ariana was going to get more help, but was told before she left for Wellington the bed had been taken. Ariana was instead sent to a local community based-service where she stayed for three nights before going home. ‘‘The second time it should have been taken more seriously, she should have been put somewhere.’’
Reedy felt health professionals tried to push the problem back onto parents, and people trained to help did not have time to do the job properly.
Reedy recently met with other parents who had lost children to suicide at an event in Hastings, called the Shoe Project, because 606 pairs of shoes were laid on the ground to represent the lives of those who’d taken their lives in the year up to June.
It was organised by YesWeCare.nz – a coalition of community groups, patients and their families and people working in health.
One woman told her that her son had died 20 years ago and nothing had changed since.
‘‘I thought I was the only one, I couldn’t speak out because I thought I was the only one who went through all this.’’
Reedy will wear a yellow T-shirt, calling for a inquiry into mental health to all the candidate meetings across Hastings leading up to the election, and encouraged anyone who wanted to, to join her.
‘‘Something needs to change.’’
Lifeline 0800 543 354, Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865, Youthline 0800 376 633, Kidsline 0800 543 754, Samaritans 0800 726 666.
Hana Reedy says her daughter was not given the treatment she needed, before she died. Inset, empty shoes laid out to remember Kiwis who have taken their own lives.