Building bridges (and jetties) – Dr Rebecca Stewart

Recently I was asked to attend a Suicide Prevention Network meeting – a problem best addressed in primary health and through an interdisciplinary and multifaceted approach.

There was a large contingent (around 40 which is pretty good I thought) – of which I was the only GP ☹.

We had all gathered for the same purpose – to save the sinking ship that is service provision for those with acute mental health needs. We’d gathered at the local jetty that had been built to support the ship, but the jetty was in a state of disrepair.

Over time, it had been slowly decaying, with new pylons being erected to support it at a rate inversely proportional to its decay.

Some of us had come to go fishing for ideas, some for money, some to find some fishing buddies. Some of us had good bait, others had ‘top notch’ rods, and some just had great fishing shirts (or shoes).

There were some ships, precariously tethered, hoping that the main jetty would hold their weight for a little longer.

It seemed to me that in our attempt to provide additional supports to expand the jetty for the future, we had overlooked maintaining the current structure.

Perhaps what was needed is to reinforce the solid foundations that the jetty had been built on many years ago and had served it well over time, before adding new structures with the potential risk of instability.

Maybe if all the fisherman had formed a co-op in the beginning, they could all claim the ‘catch of the day’.

2 Comments

  1. I attended a similar forum about 12 months ago about mental health planning for the next 5 years in our area. I too was surprised they were about 100 people and 2 GPs. The draft plan came out recently an 80 page document. There was a lot written about the bait collectors but nothing about the net fishermen who catch a variety of fish at different stages of development. Certainly bait collection is important especially for the ones with the fancy rods but the success and failures of previous fishing methods should be considered. At present the net fishing is still allowed but in a different area.

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