Please verify your email address to receive email notifications.

Enter your email address

We have sent you a verification email. Please check your inbox and spam folder.

Unable to send verification, please refresh and try again later.

  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I help my 14 year old granddaughter get diagnosed with a mental health issue?

    I suffer from bipolar and am certain she does as well…her behaviour has been so erratic that DOCs have placed her in several temp foster homes but she keeps ‘losing the plot’ and being moved..due to this she has not once been diagnosed and it runs in my family…she is a cutter and has very rapid mood changes, they think she is just rebellious and her parents can't handle her but I am sure she has a mental health problem and needs assistance/medication only…she has slipped through the mental health system cracks and we are going to lose her until she is 18..I truly believe she will commit suicide as its not what she wants now that its become serious and is in the courts …her parents love her very much but are not allowed contact ..she's a lost little girl who desperately needs help
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I suggest that you encourage your granddaughter's parents to get her assessed by a mental health professional (a psychiatrist and/or a clinical psychologist) who has experience in adolescent mental health issues. A good assessment is the first step towards effective therapy (which may or may not include meds).

    As far as her self-injury (“she is a cutter”) is concerned, you could suggest that she joins this forum: . It is a world-wide community which encourages people who self-injure to develop more helpful coping mechanisms than self-injury (I am one of its volunteer administrators).

    All the best.

  • 1


    Belinda Chelius

    Counsellor, Social Worker

    I am a skilled, dedicated, culturally sensitive and passionate Senior Social Work Clinician, practicing in the field of complex mental health and substance misuse (Dual-Diagnosis) … View Profile

    My first concern for this young woman would be getting caught in the mental health system and being labeled with a disorder, before the exploration of other options first.
    Young women who self-injure do so to cope with very painful and scary emotions, give them some control and at times keep them alive. Self-injury is often a life sustaining coping mechanism, which cannot simply be stopped or replaced.
    Trauma is often the cause of this behavior, and is vital to explore in the treatment process, many mental health concerns are a demonstration of deep-seated, severe trauma.
    Often survivors of trauma have trust issues and are reluctant to enter the mental health system, for many reasons, especially if they, like this young woman have been part of other intuitions, like the department of child safety.
    I would suggest encouraging this young woman to engage with a women’s resource center, or an empathetic GP, who could refer her, under a “mental health” plan. This involves 6 sessions with a social worker, psychologist under the Better Access Medicare provision, who has experience in working with young women. Safety and trust would be the key to engage the young women.
    I can provide you with numbers for Brisbane base women’s resource centers; let me know via my e-mail.

  • Dr Pippa Mitchell

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist, Social Worker

    Pippa works with older adolescents and adults experiencing a range of psychosocial difficulties such as depression, anxiety, stress, adjustment and relationship problems. She has a … View Profile

    Firstly I think you need to be validated for taking on the responsibility of caring for your granddaughter. Children who have been through traumatic experiences, as Belinda mentioned, have particular emotional needs and it can be very demanding on carers at times. Your love for your granddaughter comes through, and I think it's important to ensure that you also have the support you need to continue caring for her.

    It certainly can seem that young people may “slip through the cracks” as you say. Specialist organisations like Headspace and CAMHS hope to prevent this on some level, though sometimes it can seem hard to get into such services in the first place. A GP is a great place to start - they may decide a private psychologist or social worker would provide adequate support, or they may feel that a tertiary service is more useful in this instance. Can I reinforce that whatever their decision, you ensure that you have enough emotional and practical support for yourself. As parents and carers it is so important to feel well in yourself in order to support others, and this can be a hard thing for all of us at times.

    Best of luck.

answer this question

You must be a Health Professional to answer this question. Log in or Sign up .

You may also like these related questions