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Hundreds of Queensland children left on growing wait lists amid skyrocketing child protection referrals. Hundreds of vulnerable children suffering from significant trauma are being left on waiting lists across the country, as child safety experts struggle to keep up with the demand for crucial services.

Hundreds of Queensland children left on growing wait lists amid skyrocketing child protection referrals

Key points: Some 5,000 children have accessed child protection services on the Gold Coast this year aloneChild abuse experts say school can be a "sanctuary" for many children living in abusive householdsChild protection referrals jumped by 30 per cent since the onset of the pandemic Referrals to leading national child protection organisation Act For Kids have skyrocketed by 30 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating what experts call a "shadow" pandemic. More than 480,000 reports were made to child protection authorities last year. Tom McIntyre from Act For Kids said one in 32 children across the country were currently accessing child protection services. "48,000 of those were substantiated as children who have suffered harm of some sort," he said. New mental health 'Safe Haven' to bring relief to those suffering from emotional distress.

Michelle Banfield's favourite place in the world is the chook shed in the backyard of her home in Murrumbateman, just outside Canberra.

New mental health 'Safe Haven' to bring relief to those suffering from emotional distress

The paddock, where her four alpacas roam, comes a very close second. "My animals are probably my chief therapy, if you like," Ms Banfield said. "I'm surrounded by them and they maintain a level of calm in me. But knowing what she needs for her mental health is a long way from where the Australian National University academic was, at age 27. After a fraught solo trip to Peru, Ms Banfield withdrew from her PhD studies at the ANU and found her mental health deteriorating. "I kind of hit that crisis point about January in 2003, when I was like, 'Well, nothing I wanted to do, nothing I planned to do, nothing I had worked to do was actually going to come, so maybe I shouldn't be here anymore," she said.

A friend recognised that Ms Banfield was suicidal and took her to the emergency department. Heroes, hives and a journey of healing. Military veteran Marc Webb struggled to leave his house in Adelaide, years after a serious incident in Afghanistan left him wounded and traumatised.

Heroes, hives and a journey of healing

He never thought bees would be what saved him. NSW to spend $130 million on mental health as state records 301 cases of locally acquired COVID-19, 10 deaths. The NSW government has pledged $130 million in support for mental health in the wake of the pandemic, as the state recorded 301 cases of locally acquired COVID-19.

NSW to spend $130 million on mental health as state records 301 cases of locally acquired COVID-19, 10 deaths

Another 10 people died in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday. The new cases were detected from 69,107 test results received yesterday. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the announcement of funds for services, beds, counsellors and appointments is a recognition that mental health was the "untold story" of the pandemic. "This has been a very difficult time, particularly [for] young people who haven't been able to go to school, many young people, but people across the board who have struggled with their businesses closing, being out of work," he said.

Paula kept her mental health struggle to herself for years. She doesn't want you to do the same. The day Paula Edwards began to turn her life around started with a small challenge — going for a morning walk.

Paula kept her mental health struggle to herself for years. She doesn't want you to do the same

"My life was very chaotic and painful," she says as she talks about her journey from crippling social anxiety to living her "best life" that now includes owning a Harley-Davidson. "But it took me a while before I got to that place where I was tired of what was happening. "I was just getting deeper and deeper into the hole. Nothing was happening for me and I was stuck there. " Paula, who is now a living-experience worker in Anglicare's Healthy Minds Team in Rockhampton, shared her story during Mental Health Week to show there is a pathway back to purpose and happiness.

One of the biggest issues during her years of anguish and struggle was the stigma of mental health. Borderline personality disorder, and why young people are falling through the cracks. Natasha Swingler has lived with complex mental illness from a young age.

Borderline personality disorder, and why young people are falling through the cracks

"I didn't want to be seen, to be heard. I didn't really want to exist, I didn't feel that I was deserving of any form of care," she says. Key points: More than 50 per cent of kids with mental health issues aren't getting any help. Here's how the government plans to fix that. Half of Australian kids with mental illness aren't getting timely professional help and less than a third of parents used services to help their struggling child, according to official government figures.

More than 50 per cent of kids with mental health issues aren't getting any help. Here's how the government plans to fix that

The figures are startling, especially given half of all adults with mental illness begin experiencing symptoms at a young age. A new government strategy aims to address that, to fix a system bogged down by lengthy wait lists, and high out-of-pocket costs. Let's take a look at what the National Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy found, and its recommendations to help kids. What's the strategy all about? The National Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy is a world-first, and provides a framework to help support the mental health and wellbeing of children 12 and younger, as well as their families.

It was developed by the National Mental Health Commission and supported by an expert advisory group, based on months of consultation with the sector. Auslan and deaf-friendly mental health services are overrun with demand, counsellors say. While she was living in university accommodation, Catherine Dunn was raped.

Auslan and deaf-friendly mental health services are overrun with demand, counsellors say

She was referred to counselling by her accommodation service, but there was an important consideration they didn't take into account — Ms Dunn is deaf. "There were no online booking options and I was frequently called despite clearly specifying that I do not use the phone," Ms Dunn said, via an Auslan interpreter. "During sessions, I was communicating through spoken English, but was not able to communicate freely. Phoebe told the doctors she was fleeing domestic violence. They diagnosed her as 'delusional' When the beatings and the verbal abuse became too much, Phoebe* sought refuge at her local hospital.

Phoebe told the doctors she was fleeing domestic violence. They diagnosed her as 'delusional'

What came next almost cost the mother of two everything. A long-term victim of domestic violence, Phoebe walked into Werribee Mercy Hospital in September 2019, feeling wrung-out and hounded by thoughts of taking her own life. "My [then] husband had been hitting me and emotionally and financially controlling me," Phoebe says. Phoebe told the hospital staff she was a victim of domestic violence and the situation had deteriorated after she accused her husband of having an affair. Over the next few months, Phoebe would be wrongly diagnosed, given powerful antipsychotic medicines and forced to include her husband in the hospital meetings, despite having a court-issued interim intervention order against him.

Worse, she says, losing her children became a real possibility. Astrophotographer John Carter captures the night sky to overcome daily stress. John Carter is used to being up when most people are asleep.

Astrophotographer John Carter captures the night sky to overcome daily stress

In fact, he gets out of bed earlier on his days off just to watch the stars. Often he can be found under a moonless sky at Mullinger Swamp, a yabbying waterhole in South Australia's South East close to the Victorian border. Of all the places John's photographed at night, Mullinger Swamp is his favourite. You, nature and a camera capturing 25 photos per second. Meet the Australians stuck waiting for mental healthcare as the pandemic takes its toll. When Andrea* needed to see a psychiatrist earlier this year she was placed on a waiting list. When she started experiencing suicidal thoughts months later, she was still waiting for care.

Hailey* has barely worked in the past 18 months because of the pandemic. Gym class for those living with mental illness changing lives in Hobart's northern suburbs. In the midst of a bout of anxiety and depression, Narelle Jenkins can't get out of bed, let alone leave her house. Key points: A gym in Hobart's northern suburbs caters exclusively for people who live with ongoing mental illness The program helps remove barriers to fitness Attendees are also seeing an improvement in their mental wellbeing "People say if you’re not feeling great, go for a walk. Or if you’ve got depression, go for a walk," she said. Because she knows exercising can improve mental wellbeing, Ms Jenkins talked herself into attending a mainstream gym — but only after midnight, when no-one was there. “I get really triggered by noise and movement, so gyms are really difficult places for me," she said. Then she found the Just Move program, run out of the Glenorchy YMCA, in Hobart's northern suburbs, which caters exclusively to people with ongoing mental illness such as severe depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

In 12 months, Ms Jenkins has come a long way. A panic attack can be frightening but its symptoms won't harm you. What counts is your response. For the nearly 40 per cent of Australians who will experience them, panic attacks can feel a little like having a heart attack: a pounding in your chest, dizziness, trouble breathing. That's just what Claire Eastham thought the first time she had one, in the middle of a job interview ten years ago. She was nervous, as many would be, but while walking down the corridors to the interview room, her nerves took on a different tone — she felt "off-kilter".

September 11 terrorist attacks sparked 20-year battle for victim's twin brother. The media comes knocking around important anniversaries: at five years, 10 years, 15 years and now at 20. Key points: Adelaide man Andrew Knox was killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001He was working on the North Tower's 103rd floor when it was hit by a hijacked planeHis brother, Stuart, says he has lived with that loss "each day, each year" Connection key to supporting defence veterans' families through mental health struggles. When Jo-anna Egart's husband, Peter, returned to Darwin after serving in Afghanistan in 2014, she did not recognise the man he had become. Key points: Jo-anna Egart's husband served in the military for 33 yearsShe saw her husband's mental health deteriorate after he returned from AfghanistanVeterans and family members gather weekly in Darwin to discuss their challenges "He was initially quite distant," she said.

"It took him a long time to want to reconnect with us. " Mr Egart — a veteran who served in the military for 33 years — had also served in Cambodia and East Timor. These Sydney women left a 'cult like' religion — this is what they learned. Man entitled to compensation over NT immigration detention centre assault, tribunal finds. A man who suffered a severe psychological disorder after being assaulted by other detainees inside an immigration detention facility almost a decade ago is entitled to $40,000 in compensation, a Northern Territory tribunal has found. How does music make you feel? AI may know your feelings better than you do.

I never used to listen to Justin Bieber. We're all exhausted but are you experiencing burnout? Here's what to look out for. With more than half the country in lockdown and many of the social support systems we rely on having been put on hold, it's no wonder people are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. The unlikely friendship between Louise Pleming and Brian Turton forged by a shared love of tennis. Body dysmorphic disorder diagnosed in young children spurs trial to improve treatment.

When Matt* was just 13, he became fixated on his hair and he began to notice what he thought were flaws in his appearance. Mental health services under threat as COVID-19 pushes Australia to 'crisis' point, experts say. As a child, Australian singer-songwriter Georgia Sallybanks — known by her stage name Odette — always felt she was "different". "It was hard for me to make friends," she said. "I had been displaying a lot of really worrying behaviour, outbursts, [and] not really understanding how to regulate feelings.

Isaac Reis died with a toxic combination of drugs in his system, but it was not an overdose or suicide. Postpartum psychosis is rare. But for those who get it, it can be utterly debilitating. For Gabrielle Micallef, the pregnancy and birth of her first child David was a total breeze. Perth's Crown casino under pressure to limit opening hours to prevent problem gambling. Louise Sims never thought of herself as a compulsive gambler. Play the game to see how video games are designed to get you hooked and spending. Artist using her work and life experience to break down hoarding stigma. When artist Siobhan Marriott sought help for family members with hoarding behaviours, she discovered hoarding tendencies of her own. ACT child protection system failed Bradyn Dillon. But how many children are the community failing? Group spends 40 days in French cave as part of Deep Time experiment. Veteran prescribed benzodiazepines for PTSD wants royal commission to probe drug addiction.

The history of lithium, and its remarkable impact on mood disorders. The day I lost my mind: My experience with transient global amnesia. Maladaptive daydreaming: When being caught up a world in which people love you can be bad. Borderline personality disorder is still misunderstood and misdiagnosed, so patients turn to each other for support. Victorian coroner recommends drug purity testing after investigating deaths of five men. Art helps veterans and first responders heal from post-traumatic stress and depression. Behind the scenes filming Magda Szubanski and Will Connolly, aka 'Egg Boy', for Australian Story. Dream of secluded lifestyle on Southern Moreton Bay Islands comes minus health services support - ABC News. Postnatal depression song shares stories and helps others find 'light at the end' - ABC News. Productivity Commission report into effect of mental illness reveals $220 billion annual cost to economy - ABC News.

Borderline personality disorder is still misunderstood and misdiagnosed, so patients turn to each other for support - ABC News. $4m for youth mental health services in Tasmania after report 'lays bare many gaps' - ABC News. Chinese Australians share personal stories of gambling harm and their road to recovery - ABC News. Fires deliberately lit by Michael Holden burnt the equivalent of 1,700 soccer fields, court hears - ABC News. Having eating disorder clinics available could be the difference between life and death for Shania - ABC News. How I was accidentally sectioned into a psych ward during the coronavirus lockdown - ABC News. Most people with complex mental health issues face stigma and discrimination, survey shows - ABC News.

Hundreds of thousands of people shackled for mental health issues globally, Human Rights Watch says - ABC News. Climate grief expected to be widespread soon but it's still not openly acknowledged - ABC News. Coronavirus creates mental health 'obstacle race' for culturally diverse communities - ABC News. Regional Australians falling through the cracks of a 'complicated' mental health system.

DNA research aims to take 'trial and error' out of depression medication treatment - ABC News. On the frontline with a mental health emergency team as they respond to the dark reality of the coronavirus crisis - ABC News. How one man's personal relationship with suicide is being used as a force for good. Former police officer who had to guard murder victim's body parts receives payout. Family of Navy diver Josh Manning want answers about how he died alone. Canberra mental health patients leaving hospital worse off than anywhere else in the country.

Historic Macarthur pub transformed into retreat for war veterans to reminisce and recover. The latest trauma research gives me hope other sexual assault survivors can heal better than me. Penny-farthing charity ride aims to set new world record distance. After a bushfire, the impact on communities' mental health can last for years, as Yarloop knows too well. From Belfast, Balkans and Middle East war zones to the outback, Alan Hatcher has seen it all.

Alcohol addiction made me a drug dealer and landed me in prison. Four years later, my life is transformed. The Christmas cards bringing light to Australians during their darkest days. Canberra Liberals' move to strengthen hoarding prevention arouses concern from mental health experts. Alliance Against Depression — WA trial already getting results. Hoarding symptoms can start as early as childhood, and often run in the family, researchers say. Royal commission hears terror attack revived painful childhood memories for South Sudanese refugee. People with mental illness experience poorer physical health, and the gap may be getting worse, experts say - Health - ABC News. Victoria's mental health system failed 'incredibly terrified' girl, royal commission told. Wayne Schwass tells Victoria's mental health royal commission of his struggle with depression.

Perth man not guilty of murdering father, attempting to kill mother due to unsound mind. Inquest into death of Bran Nue Dae author Jimmy Chi reveals gaps in health services. Former prisoner calls for improved mental health services for inmates at Darwin Correctional Centre. A gaming disorder 'took over Matthew's life' — but this course is helping him take back control. Borderline personality disorder treatment gets shake-up in South Australia. Yass Headspace a step in the right direction for mental health but won't cater for acute issues, rape victim says. Mum had her voices. And I had my tapes - RN. Scientists discover dozens of previously unknown genes linked to serious mental illnesses. The veterans authorities don't know about because they 'just fell through the cracks'

Musician Lewis Capaldi to have anxiety rooms for fans during his arena tour. Man who allegedly jumped from Darwin high-rise had smoked synthetic cannabis, police say. Puppets, poetry and song help Rebecca Dostal to 'own' anxiety and cope with trauma from murder, arson. New support program to help ICU patients deal with PTSD after coming 'close to death' Champion race walker Dane Bird-Smith reveals his struggle with mental illness. Sucked into a mental health system black hole — the dark reality of abuse, addiction, recovery. 10 Tips for Teachers with Students Who Have Experienced Trauma. Nuclear waste site selection process triggers mental health concerns, business boycotts and division, FOI documents reveal. Healthy foods can help prevent and treat depression. Black Saturday bushfires have had lasting impact on primary school students, research finds. Darwin woman narrowly avoids 'shock' therapy without consent.

Artist Mel Tregonning found dead just hours after leaving Perth mental health clinic, inquest hears. Mental health patients in rural Australia feel 'forgotten', despite billions in funding. Singing helps brain injury sufferers with aphasia learn to speak again. Sailors, sauerkraut and PTSD: Exploring the link between gut bacteria and mental health. Emergency departments in 'crisis' as mental health patients left waiting: new report - Health - ABC News. Anxiety: Why the gender gap in Australia's most common mental illness? - Health - ABC News.