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Parker and Natalie with Mater Emotional Health Unit nurse practitioner Chris Leary (The Catholic Leader/Josh Woning)

School bullies have driven a 50 per cent increase in the number of desperate young people seeking help from a Brisbane specialist mental health unit in the past year. Source: The Catholic Leader.

The Emotional Health Unit based at Mater’s South Brisbane campus is seeing 20 patients a month seeking help to deal with serious anxiety and depression linked to bullying.

The centre treats adolescents and young adults aged 16 to 25 and is calling on parents to look out for the signs of bullying during Queensland Mental Health Week from October 7-15.

Natalie, an experienced educator based in Brisbane, said her family was in “crisis” when the Emotional Health Unit helped her 16-year-old son.

She said her son had been bullied at two schools.

Natalie only realised the extent of Parker’s problems when the police arrested her then 14-year-old and issued him with a caution for drug possession.

She said that bullying, as well as the breakdown of her marriage, had led to his drug abuse.

Natalie said it was “heartbreaking” to find out what her son had been through and was encouraging other parents to take the time to talk to their children and ask more questions.

Parker was on waitlists to see psychiatrists for 18 months until Natalie, who said she was at “breaking point”, came across Mater’s Emotional Health Unit online and referred her son as a private patient.

“The Emotional Health Unit at Mater saved my son,” Natalie said. “The support Parker received has truly saved our lives.”

Emotional Health Unit nurse practitioner Chris Leary said bullying could impact a child’s development, self-confidence, self-worth and self-esteem, which often leads to anxiety and depression – problems which frequently continued into young adulthood and beyond.

“Signs of irritability, mood swings and no longer engaging in family activities are tell-tale signs a young person could be struggling with their mental health,” he said.


Surge in young Queensland bullying victims seeking mental health support (The Catholic Leader)