A PATIENT who escaped Alma Street’s psychiatric clinic last week tried to kill herself by standing in front of Hampton Road traffic.
The middle-aged woman screamed at cars and begged motorists to hit her before clinic staff managed to restrain her. No drivers stopped to help.
Fremantle hospital refuses to release any details of the March 5 incident, citing patient confidentialty.
“All people have a right to confidentiality of their personal health information and therefore the department of health will not comment on matters or answer questions where personal information is being sought,” executive director David Blythe said.
A witness to the 11am incident says staff and visiting relatives chased the woman to the busy Alma Street intersection.
“I couldn’t believe how many staff there were,” she told the Herald. In 2011 she’d witnessed the suicide of a patient who’d been let out for a cigarette (he’d jumped in front of a truck).
The escape occurred during parliamentary debate over the new WA mental health act.
This week EY (formerly Ernst & Young) released a new report into mental health and homelessness in Australia.
Its Crossroads report found nearly one in two adult Australians have experienced mental illness, but less than half received the help they needed.
The report says meeting demand would cost $9 billion and 8800 more trained professionals over 15 years.
“This new report highlights the fundamental failure of our current mental health system,” Australian mental health commission CEO Frank Quinlan said.
“Australia invests too much at the acute end of the mental health system, and not enough on early intervention and prevention.”
by CARMELO AMALFI