MHDCD Project

6.4.6. Alex

Alex is an Indigenous man in his late twenties. He has an intellectual disability with a reported IQ of 69, and a long history of problematic drug use beginning at the age of six, which includes prescription drugs, amphetamines, alcohol, cannabis, heroin, methadone and buprenorphine. Much of his contact with police is related to his drug use and break and enter and robbery offences, and he is often violent. He regularly attempted self-harm from a young age. As a child, Alex attended a special class but did not continue schooling after age 12. Members of his family are known for their problematic use of drugs and alcohol. Alex had frequent short periods in out-of-home care (over 1000 days) as a child. He was regularly noted as homeless.

Alex often breached bail as a young person as his bail conditions required that he be with a responsible adult – an impossibility in his family circumstances. He spent considerable time in juvenile justice custody, and reports being raped during one custodial episode though there is no further record of follow up on this matter.

When he wasn’t in custody Alex was mainly homeless though was on occasion provided with disability supported accommodation. He was often restrained and sedated when he attended the local hospital emergency department, usually for self harm or attempted suicide, due to his aggressive behaviour. He was often scheduled under the Mental Health Act but rarely spent more than a few days in a psychiatric unit. After one self-harm incident, police noted that Alex stated he was being supported in a unit by a government agency that would not move him to his hometown to be near his family and this was making him depressed.

From a young age, Alex was portrayed as ‘uncontrollable’ and ‘attention seeking’ rather than as a young person in need of care and protection. Corrective Services case notes detail his illiteracy and abuse experienced in his early years that were not responded to earlier in his life. Despite extensive diagnoses, he received little effective intervention as a young person or as an adult. 

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