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Kate Savage death: Teen’s grieving mother starts petition for inquest

The bereaved mum of a teenage girl who took her own life has started a petition calling for an inquest into her death.

More than 3200 people have signed the petition since Meron Savage – mother of Kate Savage – published it three days ago.

Ms Savage’s 13 year-old daughter died by suicide on July 23 last year. The troubled young teen attended the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency department on 11 occasions in the last six months of her life.

Clinicians decided to discharge Kate, while her family believed she was at high risk of taking her own life.

Now, her grieving mother is calling for an “independent inquiry and/or inquest” into her daughter’s death.

Ms Savage has spent the last four months poring over Kate’s medical records, which she obtained through a freedom of information request.

“What I found has only added to my trauma, grief and anger,” she writes.

The records show that her daughter received inadequate care in the lead-up to her death, Ms Savage claims.

“My daughter repeatedly told us and the staff at (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and PCH that she did not want to die, but the thoughts were too big for her to control,” she said.

“That she knew she was safe in the hospital where she had no way for the thoughts to make her kill herself, but when she was home she couldn’t fight them, no matter how hard she tried.

Meron Savage speaks about the suicide of her daughter, Kate Savage.
Camera IconMeron Savage speaks about the suicide of her daughter, Kate Savage. Credit: 9NEWS/9NEWS

“And she did try.”

Kate’s death was investigated by WA’s chief psychiatrist Nathan Gibson last year. The subsequent report warned that the WA health system “failed youth with mental illness”.

“Kate’s ‘journey’ through CAMHS during 2020 is becoming all too common for many young people and their families,” Dr Gibson wrote.

“It highlights a serious problem with a system that is both struggling to cope with an overall rise in demand (51 per cent over four years) and is not set up to properly respond to the steep growth in self-harm/suicidal ideation/attempted suicide in young people that is emerging; primarily in the 13 to 17 year age group, but also worryingly, in the younger age groups.”

This year, the Mental Health Advocate’s report paints a similarly dire picture of the state of the WA health system.

“While more beds for youth are planned, these will not be available until 2024,” the advocate writes.

“At this point, the system for young people is essentially in gridlock.”

Responding to the report, Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson said that the Government was working to meet the “urgent need” to improve youth mental health outcomes.

The 2020-21 budget includes $129.9 million specifically for services for children and young people.

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Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

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