Dave’s Story

Why can’t I get funding for the support I need but my friend who had an accident through an activity of her choice can?



I had first been diagnosed with clinical depression 16 years ago. It was stress & anxiety that had got out of control & not having the mental tools to cope, that led me to depression.

There had always been the thoughts that flash through my mind about how easy it would be to solve all of my problems,

Pulling the steering wheel to the right, 

Stepping in front of a moving train,

Taking a deep breath while underwater,

Myriad other scenarios!

This was normal, or so I thought, because those thoughts had always been there.

I knew I could never act on these thoughts because it was such a selfish thing to do, leaving my kids with the pain, distress, guilt & always wondering if it was, in any way their fault. These thoughts then played on my mind, making me more anxious & more stressed, the downward spiral created by self doubt, over-analysing everything & always finding a negative outcome.

My marriage failed – depression, mood swings & mental abuse were the main reasons given – & then suffering constant abuse for the next three years from my ex-wife via email, text & being undermined in my kid’s eyes by her. I thought about changing my job, I just needed to sort out what I was owed in bonuses. After months of trying to get an answer from my employer, I was informed that they had made a mistake with my holiday pay over the past three years & they decided that my bonus was a discretionary payment by them, which wasn’t going to be paid, so instead of me getting my $52,000 bonus, I actually owed them $3500. Ten minutes after receiving this news, I received an email stating that there was to be restructuring, the only job going was mine & there was to be no redundancy. My new partner tried to commit suicide that very same day. My whole world was falling apart; I was the lowest I’d ever been.

M doctors changed my medication, they told me I would feel worse before I felt better – they were right. My meds were increased, I felt even worse. My meds were increased again. With my mind unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time, the fleeting thoughts of suicide were just that, fleeting. But as I sunk deeper into the isolated world I had created for myself, despite the yearning to see, interact & socialise with people, I spent longer thinking about how my life had gone wrong, how useless I had become, how deprived of the luxuries of life my children were, how incapable I was of loving anyone. I pushed everyone away.

I had no-one to talk to apart from a private counsellor where it had got to the stage where I resented him due to him being such a good person that it felt more like I was paying $100 for a chat with a friend. I had more time to think about how useless I was, that I couldn’t even pick up a phone & talk to my own mother.

I was put in touch with a group of men who suffer from similar issues to me, but I was so caught up in my own downward spiral that I couldn’t comprehend being able to hear the problems of other people. I eventually reached out for help.

I phoned the CATT crisis team, I got an appointment to see them, I was interviewed by a Psychologist who referred me to the Area coordinator for mental health services. The waiting went on & on & on & on, days, weeks & months. I’m that useless even the mental health system doesn’t want a bar of me. I got proactive & started calling the coordinator, leaving text, voice & email messages. Eventually nearly 2 months after contacting the Crisis team, I was seen by the coordinator, where I had to go through the exact same scenario of telling them from scratch how I had been feeling, what caused the feelings & how I was affected. Another month goes by before I am referred to a therapist – not the sort of therapist the Psychologists from CATT had recommended though. two months & 6 sessions later, I feel exactly the same as I did previously, just more frustrated & poorer, both mentally & financially. Still making monthly visits to the doctors, at $60 a visit. Still unable to work, due to crippling anxiety & depression, not being able to even do housework properly, or cook a decent meal, the world was ganging up on me again, but this time it meant business.

I was getting periods of mental clarity, but rather than using these opportunities to discuss my problems, I had no-one to talk to, so I thought more & more about my problems, I thought more & more about possible solutions. One solution kept dominating my thoughts. I knew it was getting worse than ever before.

I needed to talk.

I had pushed everyone away.

I called CATT.

I spoke for an hour. I was reassured that my life is worth living, my life was important, I was relieved that I had been heard, that help was coming.

I got an appointment for the following week to see another psychologist. Two days later I got the call that tipped me over the edge.

The appointment I had been given had to be cancelled because I was the wrong ethnic demographic, a new appointment for me would now be in three weeks time!!!!!!!!!!!!! My life wasn’t as important as someone else’s because of racially based funding criteria.

All of my fears, anxieties, frustrations, self loathing, everything, swept over me like a tsunami. Why should I bother? What is the point? Even the system that is there to protect the people most at risk, has failed me. I could not carry on. No thoughts about my kids, no thoughts about anything, apart from darkness. No amount of prescription drugs that I took could ease my pain; I was that useless that I couldn’t even kill myself. I have suffered liver & kidney damage from my attempted suicide, these are daily reminders of a place I do not want to go to again. .

I had been told that because I had received funded therapy in the past 12 months, there was no more further funding for me! This was at the same time that a friend of a friend had been seriously injured whilst recklessly racing a mountain bike at (in her own words) “a speed far beyond my skill level”. She received emergency helicopter evacuation, lifesaving surgery, four months in critical care, ongoing physiotherapy now that she is paraplegic, ACC has covered all of these costs & 80% of her wages. She needed the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of care, & I don’t begrudge her that, I am pleased she got the care she did & still gets, but it was still her choice to do that activity & she received the treatment she needed. I have an imbalance in my brain that means I don’t cope with stress & pressure like other people do, but there are tools & skills available, that I can learn to implement, which will minimise the impact on me & my families lives, but learning these skills from a psychologist takes funding.

I have finally hassled the mental health system into funding some more treatment with a psychologist that had been recommended 12 months ago. I only got this “extra” treatment because I bypassed the system & contacted Compass Health’s Area Manager directly! It shouldn’t be up to me to hassle government departments to get the treatment I need. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a suitable mental mindset to be able to push for this treatment 12 months ago, & because I had pushed everyone away, there was nobody else fighting for me!

When you are suffering, you need help. You need to talk to people, you need to know you are not alone, you need to know that people care about you. 

After 18 months of being unable to work, I am finally getting back on track. It’s a very long road & it’s a very expensive road.

I have received $60/week through WINZ for Therapy for the past 10 weeks, because the Mental Health Service will not pay for Mental Health Treatment!!!! Unfortunately for me, my therapist had recommended 20 sessions at $150/session. I am on a Job-seekers allowance & an accommodation Supplement, & later today I have an appointment to see my case manager at WINZ, to try to get more funding for my Therapy sessions, needless to say, but my anxiety has been building for days, what if I don’t get the extra funding, what if I cant pay my bills again, what if I lose my house, what if we had a Mental Health System that helped people when they need it, so that they can get their lives back on track & be working again, paying taxes again & being a fully functioning member of the community again?

Please review this system, as it is not working.

People are dying because they have lost all hope.

The people that work in the system are suffering as well, because they are restricted in the amount of care they can give.


I need more help

We all need more help

The system needs more help!