I have an update on the woman I told you about last week who called a mental health crisis line and was told no one was available to help her.

It was a 24/7 crisis phone line and she was told to call back tomorrow because the clinician was asleep - and no one else could help.

The woman contacted the media, and said she was made to feel helpless, and that she was angry.


I said that I thought this was appalling, that no one at a time of dire need should be told to go away. To call back tomorrow.

That people at their lowest ebb who reach the point of asking for help, shouldn't be shunted to one side. Especially on a "24/7" helpline.

I also criticised the Waitemata District Health Board for putting out a statement claiming that they provide the best care for every patient - given this patient didn't get any care at all.

A day later the Waitemata DHB wrote to me, expressing their disappointment in my criticism. They said the incident was the result of an unsubstantiated and anonymous complaint, put to them by a journalist.

They said they had no details, including any complaint that could give them a sequence of events to investigate.

They said they did take matters like this very seriously and my assertion otherwise was unfair. They agreed that it was unacceptable for someone to be asleep during a shift, but they had, they said, absolutely no evidence of it.

So here is the quandary of modern times. Who is to be believed?

Well, a week on, I've now received a message from the woman herself at the centre of this who called the helpline.


She thanked me for giving her a voice and for believing her, for speaking out on her behalf.

She told me she'd been too afraid to complain because she worried it may affect her treatment, that she wasn't even sure who to complain to.

She'd felt voiceless.

She gave me the name of the person she spoke to at the helpline, the date, and the time of her call.

I've passed this information onto the DHB to investigate, in the hope this doesn't happen to anyone else.

It is a very timely reminder though, especially given what's happening in the US at the moment with the Supreme Court appointment, that just because someone doesn't report it, doesn't mean it didn't happen.