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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I have been told both my son and I need to see a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.

    We have both been through a lot of trauma, and it is very hard to stand by and watch my son who is now 14 getting worse as he refuses to go to school, is very aggressive, rages at home, can't focus on schoolwork, swears at teachers, is hypersensitive and highly defensive. He always says he "needs a drink" and will sneak out at 10 pm to buy Pepsi from Coles. He drinks bottle after bottle, skulls it from the bottle. He doesn't drink water. (I am afraid the Pepsi will change to alcohol, cigarettes or God forbid Ice in the future if he is able to afford it.) I can barely talk to him anymore as he gets so angry and yells, swears and spits at me. When the rages get out of hand at 2 am, I've called the police on him a couple of times, but I don't want to involve them again as I fear this might escalate the problem. He has been to counselling a number of times but is quite responsive in session so they don't see the full extent to his problems. The school counsellor and GP say he has depression. I believe there is something deeper than that. I am a single mother to three children and have been informed by Youth Mental health in Hornsby that they are obliged to inform FACS (formerly DOCS) about my son as he is a danger to my other children. As you can imagine, I haven't been able to start looking for work and therefore am unable to afford full fees, so am hoping I might see a psychiatrist under the Mental Health Plan. If any wonderful doctor can please help me, advise me on what I can do to help myself and my children, I would be very grateful.
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    Bree Somer

    Social Worker

    Hi - I’m Bree Somer. I'm an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with extensive training and life experience. I provide individual counselling or coaching sessions … View Profile

    It sounds as though you have been experiencing a difficult time for a while now Denelle. This must be tough. I'm sorry to hear this.

    I agree with you that there is likely more underlying your son's behaviour than simply depression, particularly as you say that you have both been through a lot of trauma.

    Depressive symptoms can arise from experiencing trauma, but if you have both experienced a lot of trauma over a period of time, the symptoms and mangement can be more complex.

    You son's behaviour sounds reflective of this. It is important to note that your son is tyring to communicate his needs through his behaviour. 

    There is some great information available on these sites as a starting place for you to understand what might be happening for you both:

    You will help your children best by helping yourself first. Much like they say to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others in the event of an emergency on a plane.

    I encourage you to see a doctor and seek a referral to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist under a Mental Health Plan. This is absolutely something you can do anytime to make a start getting the help you need.

    Well done on reaching out here for the help you need for you and your children. 

    I wish you all the best, Bree.

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