“We definitely want an inquiry, not only for our family and for Talieha, but for all the other kids in Queensland that have mental health problems,” she said.
Melinda said the family was not completely happy with the care at the Barrett Centre, but said the 24/7 care had kept her alive.
“They kept her alive and she was there for three years,” she said.
“So her mum wasn’t really happy with her there, but at the end of the day they did keep her alive.”
Melinda said Talieha was given just two short visits to the Pine River Community Care before they moved her from the Barrett Centre.
“They promised her she would have six weeks of 24/7 care – that’s 24 hours a day care – and that lasted about two weeks,” Melinda said.
“So she went from the Barrett Centre – which is like a hospital with 24-hour care with nurses on staff – to independent living.
“She was living by herself in a little unit within the Pine Rivers Community Care centre.”
“So she spent three years in a hospital-type accommodation – I mean she was still a teenager at heart – she hadn’t learnt all the everyday things you need to live by yourself.”
Melinda said Talieha was a “selfie queen”, who adored her younger cousins and loved drawing, dancing, music and videos.
“My kids are 8, 6 and 4. And she was the best big cousin they could ever have.”
“Ninety per cent of her was this happy, vibrant, loving, very, very caring person.
“And that is why I am doing this. It will never ever bring her back but she would hate us if we did not fight for the rest of the kids with problems.”
“She was absolutely gorgeous.”
Former staff at the Barrett Centre are devastated to learn of the two suicides.
They insist the LNP made a mistake by not keeping the centre – inside the grounds of The Park adult mental health facility at Wacol – open until a replacement centre could be built.
“They did not just get moved,” one staff member told Fairfax Media yesterday.
“They got dumped. That was the day they both got dumped.”
“We never expected the first one to come and then the second one comes,” the staff member said.
“And here’s two kids, just turned 18 – who six months ago where in full-time care – who have found themselves trying to look after themselves with severe mental health issues.”
The government spent the first 12 months of its time in office investigating alternative care for patients for the former Barrett Centre, before deciding to close it in January 2014.
Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.
Source: Brisbane Times