UNHAPPY: Murray Benton (left) has criticised health services over what he says is a lack of support for his brother Brian Birchall, who made national headlines as a bullying victim earlier in the year.
UNHAPPY: Murray Benton (left) has criticised health services over what he says is a lack of support for his brother Brian Birchall, who made national headlines as a bullying victim earlier in the year. Contributed

Family of bullied Gympie teen slams lack of health support

THE family of bullied Gympie teen Brian Birchall has criticised Queensland's health service, saying the body has left the young boy and his mother in the cold.

Brian's brother Murray Benton attacked the health system in a social media post, in particular the lack of a follow-up service for which his family was "still waiting".

"They're still very much falling short," Mr Benton told The Gympie Times yesterday.

While all of the focus had been on Brian's mental health, which made national headlines following several attempts at self-harm in early March, his mother Patrina Benton was also suffering.

 

Patrina Birchall's face is etched with worry as her nine-year-old son Brian faces an agonising wait for surgery to help diagnose a lower bowel complaint.  Photo Patrick Woods / The Gympie Times
Patrina Benton. Patrick Woods

"She's at the point where she is burned out," he said.

While Brian does have the help of a support worker, Mr Benton said there had been no outreach support or service to help the family at home.

"A lot of issues he (Brian) has is when he's at home.

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"He's not getting any better; he's getting worse," he said.

And he said there was a marked lack of communication from the health service when he had reached out.

It was easy for them to answer calls but the buck always seemed to be passed, he said.

 

Mathew Castley, Brian Birchall, Lisa Wilkinson and Murray Benton fight against bullying.
Mathew Castley, Brian Birchall, Lisa Wilkinson and Murray Benton fight against bullying. Contributed

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services acting executive director Dr Piotr Swierkowski said they "cannot provide information on the care of any of our patients in media inquiries".

"We encourage families and young persons to contact these agencies to provide guidance and referral to promote family connectedness and well-being.

Kids Helpline can be reached on 1800 055 1800, and the Gympie Child and Youth Mental Health Team can be contacted between 8am-4.30pm Monday to Friday on 5489 8777.

* If you need help, phone Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or visit www.kidshelpline.com.au, or phone Lifeline on 131114.