More mental health support desperately needed in rural areas.

An outpouring of support has been shown for a mother who keeps her 16-year old daughter in a “safe room”, with the latest reports indicating the daughter is currently in hospital after threatening her family with a knife.

Stephanie lives in rural NSW with two siblings and her mother Emma Parrey, who told Today Tonight Adelaide recently that she has to lock her daughter in a plywood-lined bedroom each night to protect the rest of the family and Stephanie herself.

Stephanie was sexually abused as a child and began cutting herself when she started high school. This only got worse, and when asked how many times Stephanie has tried to kill herself, Emma estimates about 12.

She admits that “before I lived this day-in, day-out, if I had seen this I would’ve probably thought it was atrocious”. But now, she says she feels it’s atrocious that she has to do this to keep her child safe.

According to Today Tonight, the nearest psychiatric services are about two hours away from where the family lives, and according to Emma, Stephanie needs “more intensive help”.

“Seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist just once a week, it’s not helping. She needs daily therapy to get to the bottom of it.”

Around the same time the news report was shown, a Facebook page was set up to “get help for this struggling family doing there [sic] best to provide support to their daughter all while on a ‘waiting list’ for specialised mental health” services.

The #fightforsteph Facebook page has, for the most part, seen a lot of support. One Facebook user says the mother is “doing an amazing job for your family”, while another says: “You are an amazing mum & the strength your [sic] showing not only within yourself but for your daughter & other children is proof that you can fight thru [sic] the worst times in life”.

Others discuss the lack of mental health services in rural NSW.

Then on 1 August, a post claimed Stephanie tried killing herself again and forced her family at knife-point to lock themselves in a room. Audio was released of Stephanie threatening her family.

Today Tonight Adelaide reported the news, adding the family has received no help since its news report at the end of July.

As of 14 August, Stephanie remains in hospital.

If you or anyone you know needs support you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

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