He was found dead on the side of a road, in the hot sun, three days after he had died and that family have struggled ever since.Roma Britnell
South West Coast Roma Britnell is haunted by the knowledge she couldn't help a desperate mother save her son.
She said it was just one example of why an overhaul of Victoria's mental health system was overdue.
Ms Britnell spoke in parliament this week in support of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.
"I am going to begin by sharing a story with you and I urge you to consider the people who have fallen through the cracks," she said.
"I have in mind a friend, a health professional who worked with me as an Aboriginal health worker, who begged me to help her help her son, to help her find the treatment he needed as a very acute schizophrenic.
"I share with you that I could not help her, and I could not help her son.
"He was found dead on the side of a road, in the hot sun, three days after he had died and that family have struggled ever since.
"That man had a mother, who died last year, a friend of mine.
"To this minute I can never forget the begging for how we could help him to get into a service. His sister and his brothers suffer today as a result of that horrific story."
Ms Britnell praised former MP Denis Napthine for his efforts to deinstitutionalise the mental health system.
"We actually had a plan to deinstitutionalise the system, and that occurred.
"But what happened was that when we lost government the Labor government did not continue with the plan of implementation," she said.
As a health professional Ms Britnell said she has seen time and time again families unable to get the help they needed.
"I have sat in this place for over five years now and I have written to the minister on so many occasions for people who have fallen through the cracks," she said.
"So I endorse the recommendations."
Premier Daniel Andrews said emergency service workers would receive better support and more accessible mental health services as part of the response to the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.
"This is about looking after the people who look after all of us," Mr Daniels said.
"Our emergency service workers and volunteers deal with incredibly challenging situations every day - it's critical they receive the right support to manage the pressures of their job, including the hidden effects it can have."
Listen to the latest episode of our weekly podcast The Booletin and Beyond:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.